Whitelock’s injury, suffered in the Crusaders’ thrilling 34-28 victory over the Blues at Eden Park at the weekend, will rule him out for several weeks, starting with his side’s home match against the unbeaten Brumbies on Friday night.
Reece limped from the Eden Park pitch with what was initially thought to be an ankle problem but has now been confirmed as a potentially long-term knee injury.
The injuries will also interest current All Blacks head coach Ian Foster, who is in the bizarre position of watching from France, where he is on a fact-finding trip ahead of the World Cup while his successor enjoys his time in the spotlight in the midst of a Super Rugby season.
Whitelock's rehabilitation might take up to eight weeks but Reece's may take far longer. The World Cup kicks off in Paris in less than six months.
New Zealand Rugby chief executive Mark Robinson confirmed on Breakfast this morning that he still hadn’t spoken to Foster after Robertson yesterday signed a four-year contract to replace the incumbent at the start of 2024.