WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) -- Flyhalf Dan Carter will miss New Zealand's first two Rugby Championship tests against Australia and could be sidelined for up to four weeks with a calf strain.
All Blacks coach Steve Hansen confirmed Tuesday that Carter will miss Saturday's opening match against the Wallabies at Sydney, as well as the return encounter at Wellington the following week.
He said Carter felt tightness in a calf muscle after a warm up match last Friday and the injury became more serious after a training session on Monday.
Chiefs flyhalf Aaron Cruden is now likely to start Saturday's test in Carter's absence.
The 31-year-old Carter, a 95-test veteran, may be fit for New Zealand's first match against Argentina at Hamilton on Sept. 7.
Hansen said Carter had suffered a recurrence of an old injury.
"He was a bit sore after training so we got a scan and unfortunately he's damaged his calf," Hansen said. "It's disappointing for Dan but it's not a biggie.
"It's just something that is a nuisance more than anything else."
While Carter is regarded as one of the best players in world rugby he might have struggled to hold his starting spot this season under pressure from Cruden.
Carter had a mixed season at best for the Crusaders, whose Super Rugby campaign ended in the semifinals, while Cruden led the Hamilton-based Chiefs to their second straight title.