Wales have been hit by the news that hooker Ken Owens has been ruled out of all four autumn Tests after being told he needs to undergo surgery on his neck.
Wales face games on successive weekends in November against Australia, Fiji, New Zealand and South Africa, but Scarlets’ ace Owens will not be able to play in any of them.
The 27-year-old was forced to miss Scarlets’ Pro12 win over Treviso last Saturday and had also been ruled out of Friday’s clash against Edinburgh.
Scarlets have now confirmed the injury which is of course a blow to both themselves and the Wales Test side going into the autumn.
“Scans have confirmed the he’s injured a disc in his neck,” said Scarlets head of performance Andrew Walker.
“After a thorough process, involving consultations with three neck specialists, we have decided that surgery is the best course of action.”
Scarlets head coach Wayne Pivac added: “It’s a shame for both Ken on a personal level and the team as a whole that he will require surgery on the injury he received earlier last week to his neck.”
Owens has won 26 caps and took over from then-injured Richard Hibbard in Wales’ two-Test series against South Africa in June.
Hibbard is now back to full fitness after undergoing shoulder surgery and should step back into the side, while Wales do have other options in the form of Matthew Rees and Scott Baldwin.