All Blacks head coach Steve Hansen says they're hopeful the dislocated shoulder picked up by influential lock Brodie Retallick won't be enough to keep him out of the World Cup later this year.
The former World Player of the Year faces a race against time to recover, after being forced out of New Zealand's Rugby Championship draw with South Africa on Saturday.
Retallick left the game using his jersey as a makeshift sling, after being on the receiving end of a powerful clearout from Springboks' second row RG Snyman just after the hour mark.
The 28-year-old was immediately diagnosed with a dislocated shoulder, and taken to hospital for further scans. Speaking on Sunday, All Blacks head coach Steve Hansen says the injury isn't as bad as first feared, adding that they're confident he can make his return early in the World Cup pool stages.
"We have a reasonably positive update. He's only dislocated it, which means that there's a good possibility he could make the World Cup. There's no timeline yet about when he's going to return to play, hopefully he'll be available to go to the World Cup.
"He's one of our best players, so I'm obviously relieved, it's good."
Irish fans will have been watching Saturday's 16-16 draw at the Cake Tin in Wellington with interest; barring disaster in the pool stages in Japan, Joe Schmidt's side will be facing either New Zealand or South Africa in the World Cup quarter finals later this year.
Continuing their transformation under Rassie Erasmus, the Springboks once again went toe-to-toe with the All Blacks, securing the draw with the final play of the game, after Herschel Jantjies late try was converted by Handre Pollard.
Their last three meeting over the last 12 months have now been split right down the middle, with one win apiece, as well as Saturday's draw, while they've both score 92 points apiece across those three games.
It leaves the championship in South Africa's hands heading into the final round of games in just under a fortnight. Rassie Erasmus's side know a bonus-point win away to Argentina will see them crowned champions for the first time since 2009.
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