The New Zealand Rugby Union (NZRU) may look kindly on a Crusaders' attempt to use England sevens player Ben Gollings as a replacement for Dan Carter in the early stages of next year's Super 14.
The defending champions will miss the All Blacks' first five-eighths, under orders to rest, for the first seven rounds.
The region has also lost his back-up, Cameron McIntyre, who has joined French club Castres.
Gollings has impressed in his debut season with Tasman in the Air New Zealand Cup, but the Crusaders will need dispensation from the NZRU.
The NZRU allows players eligible for Pacific Islands teams in the Super 14 but has blocked other overseas players.
Two years ago, it stopped the Hurricanes from recruiting Australian sevens player, Brock James, who had been playing in the NPC for Taranaki.
Because of the situation next year, the NZRU may be willing to lift strict rules on Super 14 representation to allow Gollings, a former Bath and Gloucester fullback, to feature, deputy chief executive Stew Tew said.
"We are prepared to be a bit more flexible and will take every application on its merits," he told The Press.
"The NZRU has a policy that it wants its contracted players to be eligible for New Zealand, but in 2007 there are extenuating circumstances surrounding these sides."
McIntyre, 25, who represented the Junior All Blacks, played 17 Super rugby games for the Crusaders over the 2004 and 2006 seasons.
He is the second Canterbury player to depart in recent months, following fullback Ben Blair, who made a mid-season move to Welsh side Cardiff.