The Blues have suffered a blow for their Super Rugby season as All Blacks prop Charlie Faumuina has been ruled out for the rest of the season.
Faumuina was injured in the Blues lost to the Waratahs in Sydney three weeks ago and he was expected to miss the next six weeks of Super Rugby.
However Faumuina has now been ruled out for the next 14 weeks which also rules him out of the All Blacks June Test series against France.
Seven test cap tighthead prop Faumuina suffered a grade two right calf strain midway through the first half in Sydney at Allianz Stadium.
Blues head coach Sir John Kirwan said it was a major blow to lose someone of Faumuina's calibre for the season but it was in the best interests of both Faumuina and the team to replace him.
"Team doctor Stephen Kara said best case scenario for Faumuina returning was eight weeks but the worst case scenario was 14 weeks. I think if we tried to rush Charlie back, he's the type of guy that wants to help the team out so he'd push hard to get back and possibly to the detriment of his long term career," Kirwan said.
"He needs to get on top of this injury so keeping the team in mind and Charlie's future in mind we've decided to replace him.
"He's still going to be with us and we want to get him back as quickly as we can, but unfortunately the rules state that if you replace a player he can't come back for the season so that's a tough call but Charlie was understanding and wants to try and get back to 100 per cent so that's his main goal."
Angus Ta'avao came on for Faumuina in the second half against the Waratahs and also started against the Highlanders and the Chiefs.
Ofa Tu'ungafasi can also provide cover at tighthead prop in Faumuina's absence and Auckland prop Sam Prattley has been called into the Blues squad to replace Faumuina.
23-year-old Prattley recently signed a two year contract with Auckland after playing three seasons for Tasman and has been called in to replace Faumuina.
A former New Zealand Under-17 and Under-20 representative, Prattley spent two seasons in the Crusaders Wider Training Group and said he was thrilled to get the call-up from the Blues.
"I'm really excited about the opportunity but also pretty nervous joining the team for the first time this morning," Prattley said.
"It's always been a goal of mine to step up to Super Rugby level and was one of the motivating factors in me making the move up to Auckland so I'm really looking forward to the getting stuck in."
Kirwan said he was happy to welcome Prattley into the fold.
"Sam played well for the Blues development team so we're happy to have him on board. He's one of those raw boned, tough and rugged players who covers both sides of the scrum so that's a real positive for us."
The Blues have also revealed that halfback Bryn Hall fractured his jaw playing club rugby for Northcote on Saturday. He will have surgery today and will be out of action for eight weeks.
Lock Liaki Moli suffered a grade two MCL strain playing club rugby for Manukau on Saturday. He will have scans today but at this stage he is expected to be out of action for eight weeks.