The Melbourne Rebels will look to bolster their front-row options after Pauliasi Manu was ruled out of the 2013 Super Rugby season with a neck injury.
The former Blues loosehead has now returned to Auckland - with the Rebels set to remain in contact with the 24-year-old over him returning in 2014.
Manu is the second of the club's new signings to have been sidelined, with Japanese hooker Shota Horie having already been brought in after Ryan Tyrrell was ruled out due to personal reasons.
"I'm gutted I'm not going to play for the Rebels next year especially after coming over the first time and meeting the team and management," Manu said.
"The environment was positive and their aspirations were high and I was hoping to be part of the journey next year. We'll see what happens in 2014."