Cardiff Blues and Wales flanker Sam Warburton will not make an appearance in the 2017/18 season after undergoing a second bout of surgery which will keep him out until the summer.
The 29-year-old has not played at all since the third test of the British and Irish Lions tour to New Zealand, after an initial comeback to Cardiff Blues action was delayed by surgery on a long-standing neck issue.
He was believed to be aiming for a pre-Christmas comeback from that injury, however the decision has now been taken for Warburton to have further surgery on a knee issue that has also been troubling him.
In effect Warburton has been given the season off to get his body right, in a similar fashion to top All Blacks who often get some time off in an effort to extend their careers. This is in response to the increasing demands on professional rugby players in the modern game.
It is a further blow for Cardiff Blues though, who will be without Ellis Jenkins until at least the New Year as his recovery from a hamstring injury takes longer than first anticipated.
There was some good news for Danny Wilson though, as it has been revealed that Dan Fish could be back as soon as next month after a season-ending elbow injury actually turned out to be a broken wrist.
The full-back has not played a league game for Cardiff Blues since picking up a horror hamstring tear in November 2016 away to Connacht, only making one Anglo-Welsh Cup appearance in the meantime.
It was thought the long awaited full comeback would be put off until next season, however the 26-year-old will play again this campaign, and would be a timely boost to the squad during the Six Nations period.