Injury-plagued All Blacks hooker Dane Coles has been ruled out of the Bledisloe Cup opener against Australia after suffering yet another head knock.
Coles left the field in the warmup game on Friday, where the All Blacks played half a game each against provincial sides Taranaki and Counties Manukau.
Coach Steve Hansen said the 30-year-old had suffered a head knock and been substituted on Friday as a precaution and would be monitored this week but not considered for Saturday's match against the Wallabies in Sydney.
Coles only recently returned to rugby after having a season mired by injury, including concussion symptoms that kept him out of action for around four months.
Codie Taylor is expected to step into the starting role he fulfilled during the recent British and Irish Lions series when Coles was still suffering from concussion.
Coles' Hurricanes team mate Ricky Riccitelli had been drafted into the side as cover.
Outside backs Nehe Milner-Skudder and David Havili, who was brought in when Jordie Barrett was ruled out for the rest of the season due to a shoulder injury, were also released.
The pair are expected to rejoin the squad next week in preparation for the second game against the Wallabies in Dunedin on August 26.