Canterbury's quest for a seventh consecutive provincial rugby title has been dealt a blow with first-five Tyler Bleyendaal ruled out for the rest of the season with a neck injury.
The 24-year-old has a prolapsed disc in his neck and will receive surgery shortly to correct it.
Bleyendaal has been unavailable for selection due to a sore neck since he played against Waikato in the second round of the competition.
A scan revealed the prolapsed disc as being the cause of the problem.
The long-term prognosis is uncertain until surgery has been completed and the neck has had time to recover, however it is hoped that Bleyendaal would be able to return to action in 2015.
Bleyendaal says he is hugely disappointed to miss what was to be his last season with Canterbury before heading to Ireland to play for Munster.