All Blacks captain Richie McCaw is to have surgery to remove a screw from his injured right foot.
McCaw had surgery earlier in the year and a screw was inserted to help repair a stress fracture.
The All Blacks doctor Deb Robinson says while the stress fracture has partially healed, a scan has shown there's an area of bone stress around the screw.
McCaw saw a specialist on Thursday and Dr Robinson says the best option is for him is to have surgery to remove the screw. He will also have a bone graft.
McCaw will undergo the the operation later this month when he returns from leave and Dr Robinson says there's no time set as to when he might return to rugby.
He's not expected to be able to start running on it until February, as he will have to have his foot in plaster for two weeks following the operation and then in moonboot for a further month.
Problems with the screw have bothered McCaw throughout the year.
Earlier this week, Crusaders coach Todd Blackadder said the All Blacks captain most probably should not have played the last few games of the Rugby World Cup because of the injury.