Ryan Crotty out for month with jaw injury
All Blacks second five-eighth Ryan Crotty will be sidelined for the next month after fracturing a facial bone in last night's crushing defeat of the Wallabies.
In Ma'a Nonu's absence, Crotty produced a sound display in the six try rout but did not return after half time with Malakai Fekitoa taking his place.
''Ryan is out for four weeks,'' All Blacks coach Steve Hansen said today.
''He's cracked a bone in the top of his jaw. He's got no displacement but it's really unfortunate for him.''
The news was more positive for Cory Jane (bruised knee), Aaron Cruden (chest) and Beauden Barrett (ankle), who are all expected to be available for the next test against Argentina in Napier in two weeks.
Nonu is also on track to return after suffering deep shoulder bruising in last week's draw in Sydney.
Hansen confirmed earlier reports that Dan Carter has targeted a comeback from his minor leg fracture in the away match against Argentina on September 27.
''He won't be available to play for us until the week of the Argentina away game,'' he said.
''We're not going to rush that. We're going to make sure he's right to play and there's probably a likelihood that if he's not right we won't rush him straight in. We want him to be feeling comfortable and excited about being back.''
With Cruden returning to form at Eden Park and Barrett proving a more than handy back-up, there is clearly no need to fast-track Carter's recovery.
Ten All Blacks have, meanwhile, been released to play for their respective NPC provinces this week
They include Tawera Kerr-Barlow (Waikato), Charlie Faumuina, Charles Piutau and Steven Luatua (Auckland), Joe Moody and Colin Slade (Canterbury), TJ Perenara and Jeremy Thrush (Wellington), Nathan Harris (Bay of Plenty) while Hawke's Bay will be boosted by Israel Dagg's services for their Ranfurly Shield challenge in Pukekohe.
''It's great we've got the opportunity to play a few because there's a few that haven't played much footy,'' Hansen said. ''We'll just keep our fingers crossed that none of them get injured.''