I'm gutted I'm not going to play for the Rebels
Young New Zealand prop Pauliasi Manu's career appears to be on a fast track to nowhere, after failing a medical at the Melbourne Rebels.
Manu was snapped up by the Rebels after being delisted by new Blues coach John Kirwan.
However, the 24-year-old has returned to Auckland to try and fully recover from a neck injury.
The Rebels released a statement on Thursday saying Manu had returned home after an MRI - part of his pre-employment examination - revealed a medical issue required a further "opinion".
Although surgery was not confirmed as the final outcome of the medical opinion in Melbourne, Manu decided to take the option of staying in his home country for at least another year to ensure any medical issues are addressed completely before committing to any overseas clubs or Super Rugby teams.
Manu played for Auckland in the NPC this year and was tipped for a breakthrough year in Super Rugby with the Rebels.
This is now the second player the Rebels have lost for next year's Super Rugby season, with the franchise agreeing that it was in the best interest of hooker Ryan Tyrrell that he return home to Perth.
Rebels head coach Damien Hill was optimistic despite the obvious disappointment for Manu and the Melbourne franchise.
"Both Ryan and Pauliasi fitted into the Rebels environment well and will be missed,' Hill said, adding: "However the end result is in the best interest of all involved, and the positive is that another player will get an opportunity to play Super Rugby.
"We will remain in contact with Ryan, and hopefully see Pauliasi return to the rugby paddock soon."
Although disappointed, Manu was confident about a return to the Super Rugby stage.
"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. 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," said Manu.
With the signing of Japanese hooker Shota Horie for Ryan Tyrrell, the Rebels are now one front row position short, and will continue to assess all options both foreign and domestic.
Nic Henderson and Laurie Weeks are their two experienced props, while Eddie Aholelei and Paul Alo-Emile are also under contract following the departures of Rodney Blake and Jono Owen.