Kiwis centre Gerard Beale's World Cup is over, with confirmation he suffered a broken leg in Saturday night's 38-8 victory over Samoa.
Beale broke down an hour into the match at Mount Smart Stadium, falling away from contact, and was taken straight to hospital where he had surgery early Sunday morning.
Coach David Kidwell explained the circumstances around the injury.
"It's a broken leg… he [made] a try-saving tackle and he was limping, we checked him out and they said it was a hematoma on his lower leg, then obviously after the scrum [a couple of minutes later] he tried to take off and broke his leg," Kidwell said.
"I spoke to him last night, I wanted to make sure he was okay and his family were okay."
With 2016 Kiwi representatives Solomone Kata and David Fusitu'a both playing for Tonga, and Jordan Kahu unavailable due to off-season surgery, New Zealand's centre stocks look thin.
There is also uncertainty around the Rugby League World Cup rules when it comes to calling a player into your squad once the tournament has started, with the Kiwis to seek clarification today.
The leading contenders would include Newcastle Knights centre Shaun Kenny-Dowall, Cronulla Sharks flyer Sosaia Feki, who is understood to already be in New Zealand visiting family, or experienced back-rower Alex Glenn, who can also cover centre.
"It's a process, we thought we could bring someone in but we just have to make sure," Kidwell said.
"But the two people we have got in the squad, Dean Whare and Peta Hiku, are good sound replacements."