The Crusaders depth on the wing has taken another blow for the 2013 Super Rugby season after Kurt Baker tore a hamstring playing for the All Blacks Sevens in Wellington on Saturday.
Baker was seen as the logical replacement for Zac Guildford after he withdrew from the Crusaders squad with personal issues.
Sevens flyer Baker is expected to be out of rugby for up to six weeks which means he is out of the Crusaders opening match against the Blues on March the 1st.
The Crusaders have a bye in Rd.2 and only the Australian teams play in Rd.1 so the Crusaders effectively start in Rd.3.
Baker has been replaced in the All Black sevens squad for Las Vegas by Canterbury's Mark Jackman and Milford Keresoma (Auckland) has been called in for captain D J Forbes, who succumbed to a knee injury.
Crusaders winger from 2012 Sean Maitland moved to Scotland late last year and has already played a Six Nations match and even scored the opening try against England at Twickenham.
The Crusaders lost their opening Super Rugby trial match 27-26 to the Hurricanes but Todd Blackadder said he was happy with the result as he was more interested in the individual statistics to measure work-rate and so on of all 27 players that he used.
The Crusaders play another warm up this weekend against the Highlanders in Oamaru on Friday and All Blacks Dan Carter, Sam Whitelock, Luke Romano and Israel Dagg could be considered.
New Crusaders captain Kieran Read is also in line for some game time while Tom Taylor, Ryan Crotty, Corey Flynn, Johnny McNicholl and Adam Whitelock who missed the Timaru because of minor injuries could also get a run for the first time in 2013.