Unwanted All Black Karl Tu'inukuafe's World Cup chances have gone from slim to grim after he was helped off the field in Counties Manukau's 39-25 beating of North Harbour at QBE Stadium.
The prop made his debut for the national side last year but was one of five players cut for the two-match Bledisloe Cup series.
He was an outside chance to make Steve Hansen's 31-man squad for Japan named this month but after injuring his leg - that may be all but over.
Counties, who suffered a first-up loss to Taranaki last week got the better of North Harbour - scoring five tries in their first victory of the Mitre 10 Cup season.
They opened the scoring in the eighth minute through prop Conan O'Donnell.
Winger Matt Duffie put the hosts on the board and level the scoring in the 14th minute.
But Counties hit straight back through Kalione Hala and scored again after an 80m runaway from Kirisi Kuridrani to take the score to 19-7.
Harbour scored again before half time to take the score to 22-15 at the break.
Both sides traded tries throughout the second half, but a penalty try to Counties with five minutes to go proved the final blow as they cruised to a 14-point victory.
In the second game of the night, Hawke's Bay mounted a late comeback to secure a 27- 27 draw with Wellington.
The result ends another disappointing outing for the Lions after they were thrashed 45 - 8 last week by Tasman.