Xavier Rush has been ruled out of Cardiff Blues' Heineken Cup opener against Calvisano.
The All Black star has failed to recover from knee surgery ahead of the Welsh region's trip to Italy on Saturday.
But Blues coach Dai Young insists talismanic number eight will win his race against time for the crunch Euro tie against Gloucester on October 19.
Young said: "Xavier's injury is a big blow. He is a vital player for us for us but his knee flared-up after the Connacht game.
"We now hope that Xavier will be back for our game with Gloucester at the Millennium Stadium the weekend after next."
The Blues will also be without Wales wing Tom James who has a groin problem but British Lion Gethin Jenkins and Tom Shanklin return.
Blues: Ben Blair; Leigh Halfpenny, Jamie Robinson, Tom Shanklin, Gareth Thomas; Nicky Robinson, Jason Spice; Gethin Jenkins, T Rhys Thomas, Gary Powell, Deiniol Jones, Paul Tito, Maama Molitika, Martyn Williams, Andy Powell.
Replacements: Taufa'ao Filise, Gareth Williams, Scott Morgan, Robin Sowden Taylor, Richie Rees, Ceri Sweeney, Jamie Roberts.
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