The Crusaders, already without Richie McCaw, suffered another captaincy blow ahead of their tour to South Africa.
Coach Todd Blackadder confirmed that All Black No.8 Kieran Read has been ruled out of Super Rugby for a minimum of four weeks.
Read suffered an injury to his right foot during last Saturday’s 55-20 win over the Southern Kings.
Scans showed a partial tear of ligaments under his big toe.
“It is hugely disappointing that Kieran cannot join the team to South Africa,” Blackadder said.
“He has been playing some brilliant rugby this season and it is unfortunate that this injury will keep him out of the game.”
The Crusaders face the Stormers in Cape Town this coming Saturday and v Sharks in Durban next Friday – before heading to Perth for a less demanding encounter with the Western Force.
Jordan Taufua was named to replace Read in the Crusaders’ 26-man touring squad and fellow loose forward George Whitelock will assume the captaincy in his absence, the team added.
The absence of Read follows earlier confirmation that All Black flyhalf Daniel Carter has also not travelled with the team as his wife is due to give birth to their first child.
Crusaders squad: Dominic Bird, Tyler Bleyendaal, Shane Christie, Wyatt Crockett, Ryan Crotty, Israel Dagg, Tom Donnelly, Andy Ellis, Corey Flynn, Owen Franks, Robbie Fruean, Ben Funnell, Zac Guildford, Willi Heinz, Nepo Laulala, Tom Marshall, Johnny McNicholl, Joe Moody, Luke Romano, Jordan Taufua, Tom Taylor, Matt Todd, Adam Whitelock, George Whitelock, Luke Whitelock, Sam Whitelock.