New Zealand fly-half Dan Carter has announced he will take a six-month sabbatical after the All Blacks' tour in November.
The 31-year-old is set to miss the majority of next year's Super 15 season with the Crusaders as well as the June international series.
Carter has said the extended break would put him in a better position for contention for the 2015 World Cup in England.
"When you play the game full-time at this level it does take a toll on your body. I've had a few injury niggles over recent years, so I'm keen to ensure I do everything I can to recover fully from those and prolong my career," he said.
The fly-half's sabbatical follows in the footsteps of New Zealand's captain Richie McCaw, who played his last Test against England in December.
McCaw missed the entire regular season before making several appearances from the bench for the Crusaders.
A similar situation is expected and Crusaders cosh Todd Blackadder is trying to secure the services of Colin Slade from the Highlanders to fill the void.
"Obviously Dan will be missed by the Cusaders, but we fully support him taking this break from rugby for the long-term benefit of his career," Blackadder said.
All Blacks' Aaron Cruden has proved his ability to step up, during this years's 2-0 series sweep of France, and will be called upon in the absence of Carter, with Beauden Barrett as his deputy.
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