The Crusaders halfback Kahn Fotuali'i won't play Friday night's must-win Super 14 match against the ACT Brumbies after being stood down by team management for breaching team protocol.
Fotuali'i breached a recovery protocol dictated by the team after the match against the Bulls in Pretoria last weekend and has been stood down for one match.
Having appeared certain top-four contenders mid-season, the Crusaders have lost their last three to slump to sixth in the standings, but could clinch a semi-final place with a win over the fourth-placed Brumbies at Canberra Stadium.
Fotuali'i has been in impressive form this season and has been keeping All Black Andy Ellis on the bench.
Coach Todd Blackadder says it's an unfortunate thing to happen at this time of the season but they're not going to let it distract them.