Daniel Carter's sabbatical is set to begin earlier than expected after the All Blacks star injured his Achilles tendon in Sunday morning's win over England.
Carter will undergo scans on Monday after limping off the field in the first half of the 30-22 victory - but it looks dismal for the 100-test first five, who spent six months recovering from rupturing his other Achilles while playing for French club Perpignan while on a sabbatical in 2009.
The prop Tony Woodcock also pulled a hamstring and is out for at least next weekend's game against Ireland.
The win over England not only avenges last year's loss at the same Twickenham ground, it takes the All Blacks within one victory of a record perfect test year.
Their 13th straight triumph also edges them closer to the top-tier record of 17 straight wins, jointly held by the All Blacks of 1965-1969 and the Springboks of 1997-8.