Wellington - All Blacks loose forward Kieran Read has been withdrawn from the New Zealand side for the first Test against England on Saturday due to ongoing concerns over concussion-like symptoms, while Sam Cane has been ruled out of the three-match series with a knee injury.
Bullocking winger Julian Savea is also a doubt for the opening clash at Eden Park with a long-standing knee injury that will require a scan later on Tuesday.
Read has suffered two concussions this year and sat out six weeks of Super Rugby as he recuperated from the second injury, which he received playing for the Crusaders against the Waikato Chiefs in April.
The 2013 IRB Player of the year, who said his symptoms made him feel like he was in 'a fog', particularly after physical exertion, returned to the field last Friday against the Western Force and was named on Sunday in Steve Hansen's All Blacks squad for the series.
Hansen told reporters in Auckland that Read had woken up on Monday "not feeling well" and the decision was made to withdraw him from the match.
"We're not prepared to risk him playing and that's our decision, not his, and we'll progress that day by day," Hansen was quoted saying by Fairfax Media on Tuesday.
"He's frustrated, as you would be, but we're very lucky we've got capable people who can fill in his place. Jerome Kaino and Victor (Vito) have been performing very well and Liam (Messam) is an incumbent.
"We've got some good people to step up."
The 28-year-old Read has been replaced in the squad by Steven Luatua, though the Auckland Blues player, who missed the initial squad, is unlikely to start with Kaino or Vito expected to play number eight in Read's absence.
Messam is likely to stay at blindside flanker after impressing there over the last two seasons.
Fellow loose forward Cane would be replaced by the Crusaders' Matt Todd, who has not played for a month due to a calf injury.