Chiefs flanker Mitchell Karpik will miss his first season in Super Rugby after sustaining a knee ligament injury in a pre-season trial match.
Karpik ruptured the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee on his debut appearance for the club in a 17-12 win over Waratahs on Friday, adding to their injury problems after New Zealand international prop Nepo Laulala was also ruled out for the season.
The 20-year-old - a member of the New Zealand side that won the 2015 World Rugby Under 20 Championship - is not expected to recover in time to appear in the forthcoming campaign, which begins against Crusaders on February 27.
"I'm obviously really disappointed as I was really looking forward to playing for Chiefs this year," Karpik said in a statement published on the club's official website.
"I'm choosing to see it as a bump in the road and will take the opportunity to mature my body and get ready for what will hopefully be a long career ahead of me.
"I'll also have a bit more time to put towards my university studies and I will of course continue to support the team from the side lines."