The Australian-born second-rower was stretchered off in the first half of Wales' scratchy 11-10 win over Fiji on Friday night. His hamstring was torn away from the bone in a sickening collision and he may not play again this season.
Wales coach Mike Ruddock confirmed: "The injury needs an operation and Brent is out of action for at least four months, possibly six.
"It's awful news for Brent and his family, as well as the Ospreys and Welsh rugby, who have lost a quality player.
"On the injury front, we are getting a lot more headaches than we would like."
Cockbain, who turns 31 on Tuesday, joins fellow British Lions Gethin Jenkins, Ryan Jones, Dwayne Peel, Tom Shanklin and Gavin Henson on Wales' ever-expanding injury list. As well, three other Wales players - Dafydd Jones, Kevin Morgan and Chris Horsman - limped off during the Fiji match with ankle injuries. Jones and Morgan are unlikely to play against South Africa next Saturday.
WRU International Skills Coach Jason Strange is a busy man, combining the new role with that of Wales Under 20 attack coach, Ebbw Vale head coach and continuing to teach at Ebbw Fawr Learning Community.
Warren Gatland and Sam Warburton look ahead to this week's crunch RBS 6 Nations tie against France, where the Wales skipper in particular is keen to make his mark, as Paris has proved a bleak place for him in the past.
Following their historic win over England, Wales Under 20 suffered a narrow, 36-34 loss to their Scottish counterparts last weekend, despite outscoring them by five tries to three. Watch the match highlights and reaction.
WRU TV go behind the scenes with the Wales squad as they put the final touches in place ahead of the clash against Scotland at Murrayfield. Follow the squad on their captain's run, the kickers visit to Murrayfield and Neil Jenkins' press conference