All Blacks captain Richie McCaw is set to miss the entire Super Rugby season as he continues his sabbatical from the sport.
The 32-year-old is taking a break in order to extend his career and had originally planned to return at the tailend of the Crusaders' Super Rugby campaign.
However, following discussions with the seven-time champions, the 116-Test veteran will now come back to the sport with his local Christchurch club before potentially leading the All Blacks in the Rugby Championship opener against Australia in Sydney on August 17.
Head coach Steve Hansen told the New Zealand Herald: "He won't be there even if someone falls over.
"That means there is no pressure on him to get back into training now.
"I want him to stay away!
"He will be in good shape when he gets back, there is no way he would let himself go."