RUGBY: Wallaby centre Samu Kerevi has been ruled out of the Reds' daunting final-round mission into the snow and wind of New Zealand's worst winter storm of the year.
Kerevi was upbeat about playing the Highlanders in Dunedin on Friday night because he had beaten the ankle strain which sidelined him for the three June Tests.
Unfortunately, a tweaked a pectoral muscle in the gym on Monday scuttled his comeback and provided another chance for Campbell Magnay to start at outside centre.
It is cruel luck for Kerevi who will have to rely on a club game or two for Souths to regain his timing and match fitness before the August 19 Bledisloe Cup Test against the All Blacks in Sydney.
In the old days, Kiwi storms would have turned a visit to Dunedin into a mudbath match at Carisbroook but since 2011 the Highlanders have been able to host teams on a dry surface under the roof at the impressive Forsyth Barr Stadium.
It's getting to Dunedin which will be the problem with the Reds having elected months ago to fly into Queenstown and bus it the three-and-a-half hours to their match destination.
Road ice warnings between the centres and advisories to avoid driving have already been flagged for the Reds, who flew out for snow-hit Queenstown this morning.
"I've told the boys to be prepared for anything because we don't know if the flight will be diverted or if there'll be any bus out of town in the conditions," Reds coach Nick Stiles said.
"We have contingency plans with accommodation organised for a night in Queenstown if needed and we've even advised the airline that, if we are redirected, Dunedin would be a nice place to land.
"It's up to Mother Nature."
Tickets went on sale on Tuesday for the third Bledisloe Cup Test to be staged at Suncorp Stadium on October 21.