Sonny Bill Williams is expected to win another fitness race and face the Wallabies in twin Bledisloe Cup Tests in August.
Williams was forced off late in the All Blacks’ third Test win over France and subsequent tests on his shoulder injury have deemed it worst than first suspected.
While the damage to his AC joint has ruled him out of the rest of the Super Rugby season, a Blues spokesman said the midfielder faces a three-to-five week recovery period.
He could be fit for New Zealand’s “game of three halves” warm-up fixture in Christchurch on August 10th, followed eight days later by the opening Rugby Championship Test against Australia in Sydney.
Cross-code star Williams turns 33 on August 3rd and is set to join an elite group of outside backs to start a Test for New Zealand at that age.
Others were Frank Bunce (35), Conrad Smith (34) and Joe Stanley, Ma’a Nonu and Bob Scott (33).
Williams has been plagued by wrist, knee and shoulder problems in 2018, leaving him fit for just five Blues appearances and the truncated hitout against France in Dunedin, in which he impressed.
It forced All Blacks coach Steve Hansen to fend off suggestions Williams was becoming “brittle” nearing the end of his remarkable professional career.
The latest break gives former NRL star Williams a chance to spend time with son Zaid, his third child, who was born last week.