Munster have been hit by the news that Tyler Bleyendaal, the Canterbury and Crusaders player who was due to join the province on 1 November, will have to have surgery on a neck injury.
Former junior All Blacks captain Bleyendaal had been unavailable for selection for Canterbury for several weeks due to a sore neck, and it has been discovered that he has suffered a prolapsed disc.
In a statement, Canterbury said Bleyendaal would miss the rest of the ITM Cup season and that the long-term prognosis was uncertain until the surgery had been completed and the neck had had time to recover.
It is hoped that Bleyendaal will be able to return to play during 2015, the statement said.
The player said he was working with Munster to plan his recovery.
"I'm looking forward to contributing to [Munster's] campaign once I have fully recovered,” Bleyendaal said.
The news will come as an unwelcome development for Munster, who will be looking to get their Pro12 season back on track away to Treviso on Friday after an extremely disappointing loss to Edinburgh in their opening game.
Another recent Munster signing, meanwhile, narrowly avoided missing out on a chance to make his competitive debut against Treviso after his passport was stolen.
Robin Copeland, who joined from Cardiff Blues this summer, tweeted initially to say that he had had his passport stolen along with his kit, boots and other belongings.
However, he later provided an update that he had been issued with a replacement, and that he was looking forward to the game against Treviso.