All Blacks prop Ofa Tu'ungafasi has withdrawn from the team's Rugby Championship matches in South Africa because of a neck injury, New Zealand head coach Ian Foster confirmed Tuesday.
Tu'ungafasi, 30, picked up the knock during the third Test loss to Ireland in Wellington, which saw the All Blacks suffer a first home series defeat since 1994.
He will sit out New Zealand's Test matches in South Africa on August 7 in Mbombela and a week later in Johannesburg, with the All Blacks under pressure against the world champions after losing four of their last five games.
It is hoped Tu'ungafasi will recover in time to join the squad for their home Tests against Argentina on August 27 in Christchurch and a week later in Hamilton.
Tu'ungafasi has been replaced in the All Blacks squad by 22-year-old uncapped Crusaders prop Fletcher Newell for the tour of South Africa.