Wales and Cardiff Blues have been dealt a blow with the news Tom Shanklin will be out for the next three months with a knee injury which has ruled him out of the RBS Six Nations.
The experienced Shanklin, who has won 70 caps and played throughout the recent autumn series, is to undergo knee surgery.
Blues rugby director David Young said: “Unfortunately, Tom has had a scan and needs another operation on that troublesome knee which will keep him out for three months.
“We sent him for a scan and the medics thought he needed an operation to sort the problem out. The recuperation period is 12 weeks minimum.
“He should be back by the end of March, beginning of April, and has to get fit, so he may feature in some of our games at the end of the season.
“Obviously, I am sure he wants to come back as soon as possible to stake a claim for the World Cup with Wales.”
Shanklin is just the latest name to be added to the injury list and Wales coach Warren Gatland is facing a dilemma ahead of the Six Nations opener against England.
Prop Gethin Jenkins is also out of the whole competition due to a toe injury and scrum-half Richie Rees is banned until March 31.
Gavin Henson’s Test comeback hopes have been put on hold by a calf muscle problem and Gatland is anxiously awaiting news on tighthead prop Adam Jones.
The Ospreys forward suffered an elbow injury during his team’s Heineken Cup defeat against London Irish on Sunday.
Jones was expected to undergo a scan today, amid initial unconfirmed reports that he could be out for up to eight weeks.