Richie McCaw has withdrawn from Sunday's Rugby World Cup match against Canada because of an ongoing foot injury.
The All Blacks captain had an operation on a stress fracture in his foot earlier this year and since then has had to manage his workload each week.
The openside flanker trained lightly at the start of this week, as he has done throughout the tournament.
He came through training well on Friday and had expected to start against the Canucks at Wellington Regional Stadium.
But he woke up on Saturday morning with some discomfort and, with next Sunday's quarter-final in mind, the decision was made to replace him with Victor Vito. Dan Carter will assume the captaincy.
"I was pretty keen to play," McCaw said. "It's important for the team and for all of us that we carried on momentum. But we've got the knockout game next week and I wanted to make sure that (the foot wasn't) niggly in the early part of the next week and be ready to go.
"It's one of those things in a tournament you've got to deal with. It's a bit frustrating. But it's a niggle I've dealt with for a while.
"If I had to play tomorrow, if it was a knockout game, I would have. But the decision was made to make sure it was right for next week."
Assistant coach Wayne Smith felt it was the sensible decision to take.
"We're keen to build momentum this week and Canada is a pretty important game for us to do that," he said.
"But the reality is we've made the quarter-finals and Richard is going to lead us in to the quarter-finals next week. That's pretty important to note. He's going to be fine."