A knee injury to Wallabies forward Ned Hanigan has compounded a disappointing 55-29 loss for the NSW Waratahs, in their opening rugby trial against the Highlanders in Queenstown on Friday.
Hanigan, who came off the bench to play at lock in the final third of a game staged over three 30-minute periods, suffered the injury when he fell awkwardly in a tackle after around 20 minutes on the field.
The second rower and blindside flanker had to return home early from the Wallabies' 2017 spring tour last November, after suffering a medial ligament knee injury in the Test against England.
"We're not sure if it's a re-aggravation and how serious that is of his MCL that he's had a long layoff from, so we'll be checking that over the next couple of days." Waratahs coach Daryl Gibson said.
A Tahs team missing most of their other Wallabies led 10-7 at the end of the first third of the game, with former Western Force winger Alex Newsome bagging two tries.
The home team hit back to lead 33-10 by the end of the second third, scoring four tries in that period.
They led 50-10 at one stage in the final third, but NSW rallied and finished with five tries.
"We played good controlled football in the first and third periods," Gibson said.
"In the second we lost our way. We were loose with our possessions and the Kiwi teams really thrive on that loose play and scored some good tries off the back of our poor control.
"The game got away from us from that point.'
Gibson was pleased with some aspects of the performance.
"I was particularly pleased with our fitness and our efforts and that was one thing that was lacking from last year's team," he said.
"We're really short on our football, getting our systems in place, a lot of practice will go into those the next few weeks."
The Tahs' other tries were scored by Irae Simone Kelly Meafua and Seb Wileman, with five-eight Mack Mason landing two conversions.