Cardiff Blues have been dealt a huge blow with the news that captain Andries Pretorius is out for the rest of the season because of a shoulder injury.
Pretorius, who has been carrying the injury since December, has been forced to undergo an operation to reconstruct his shoulder.
The South Africa-born No 8 was given a first call-up to the Wales squad at the end of January but he has not been able to play.
The 27-year-old aggravated the injury in the Blues' RaboDirect PRO12 victory over Edinburgh.
A Cardiff Blues statement said: "Following consultation with the medical team Pretorius underwent shoulder reconstruction surgery on Friday, which went well, and the Blues Number 8 is due to return to full training in May."