Super Rugby's organising body Sanzaar has ruled that the former Chiefs captain Liam Messam is ineligible to play for the Chiefs in the play-offs.
Sanzaar made the decision late last night and around six hours before the Chiefs were to leave for the airport to travel to Cape Town.
Messam joined the Chiefs after the June Internationals as injury cover having concentrated on trying to make the Olympics sevens squad.
Sanzaar ruled that as he was not part of the original squad of 40 players before April 1 and had not played four regular season matches, he could not play in the knock out stage.
Messam made just two appearances and played against the Reds and Highlanders.
The Chiefs applied earlier in the week for dispensation.
Openside flanker Tevita Koloamatangi is on route to Cape Town with the Chiefs team in place of Messam.