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.
Welsh players and management joined Deputy Minister for Sport Ken Skates at the Pierhead Building, Cardiff Bay earlier this week to reveal the Union's pioneering school-club hub initiative has been so successful the project will now almost double the scale of the original project.
The Scarlets, Newport Gwent Dragons, Cardiff Blues and the Ospreys look ahead to Judgement Day III which sees the Blues take on the Ospreys (2.30) and the Dragons tackle the Scarlets (4.45pm) at the Millennium Stadium tomorrow afternoon.
Ystradgynlais and Ynysddu played out a titanic struggle at Taffs Well in the SSE SWALEC Bowl semi-final. At the end of the game neither team could be separated after a 15-15 stalemate but Ystradgynlais go through on try count.
Blues strike first in JD III battle - Newport Gwent Dragons lock Andrew Coombs, WRU referee Dylan Llyr Jones and Cardiff Blues hooker Matthew Rees decide dressing room allocations for Judgement Day III
Wales Under 18 captain Calum Haggett has received a conditional offer to read Biomedical Science at St Anne's College, Oxford. WRU chairman Gareth Davies went to meet Calum and Coleg y Cymoedd Principal Judith Evans to wish him luck in his exams and pass on some of his personal experience.
Dodgy tattoos, carthorses, Avatar and soft chins are revealed by Wales Sevens players Tom Williams and Sam Cross as they profile the Wales Sevens squad taking part in Hong Kong this weekend in the latest round of the HSBC Sevens World Series.