David Pocock is out of the Wallabies' Rugby Championship clash against the Springboks in Brisbane due to an ongoing neck injury.
The Wallabies made the announcement Friday morning with former Crusaders back-rower Pete Samu named as Pocock's replacement for the Suncorp Stadium test.
"Very disappointed for David and the team, he's been [in] outstanding form all year, he's a big leader in the team," Wallabies captain Michael Hooper said.
"But just for him [personally], he really wants to be out there tomorrow night and he's given himself every chance to be out there; [he's done] all the things and been ticking all the boxes. But it hasn't come to light, so it's unfortunate.
"But Pete's coming in, Pete Samu, and he's been doing a great job."
Asked about the need for a greater policing of potential neck rolls, Hooper added: "Neck injuries are a pretty big part of the game and I know being in a similar position to David, that you want to be protected and safe in that part [of the game]. And this is what it's about, it's about player safety.
"It's now cost us one; David having to sit out and be concerned about a pretty vital part of your body. And as a fellow player you've got to sympathise with that."
The debate around "neck roll" cleanouts has been a hot topic of conversation following the opening Bledisloe Cup encounters in which Pocock was seen to been the target of some dubious play at the hands of the All Blacks.
But no sanction was handed down with Pocock left to nurse his sore neck. It has proved too much for the star back-rower to overcome, despite his original listing when Wallabies coach Michael Cheika named his team on Thursday.
"As a player, you feel that after games and it's not something you want to think too much about," Pocock said after the Bledisloe defeat in Auckland when asked about the impact neck rolls would have on his future.
"It's pretty sore. I copped a knock and then a bit of a neck roll. It'll be sore but hopefully it's nothing serious."
Pocock's withdrawal won't have come as a surprise to Wallabies coach Michael Cheika, particularly after seeing the state his star No.8 was in the morning following Bledisloe II.
"He (Pocock) could hardly move his neck today," Cheika said after the Wallabies' loss to New Zealand in Auckland. "We have in previous games (raised the issue), in the Irish series definitely.
"He's there (over the ball) nearly all the time, so he becomes a target and they do whatever they can to get rid of him."