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.
The SWALEC semi-final draws threw up some mouth-watering clashes in the Cup, Plate and Bowl as the 12 teams aim for the Millennium Stadium Finals Day. All the semi-finals are to be played on the weekend of April 12.
Welsh whistler Rhys Thomas continues to scale the heights of the game as he prepares to be an official in this weekend's Hong Kong Sevens tournament, undoubtedly the showpiece event on the World Series calendar.
Wales International Ian Evans and Wales and Lions legend Scott Quinnell swapped rugby balls for paint pots at Tonna during the RBS 6 Nations. They surprised club players with a special clubhouse makeover to launch NatWest RugbyForce 2014 - a programme developed in partnership with the WRU to make rugby clubs stronger businesses by improving and renovating their facilities with the support of volunteers and the local community.
Fresh from claiming the Bowl honours in Tokyo last Sunday, the Wales Sevens squad have settled into their routine as they prepare for this weekend's Hong Kong tournament where Iolo Evans is aiming high, as WRU TV's Graeme Gillespie discovers.
The Welsh Rugby Union has recently teamed up with Prostate Cymru to help the charity launch its latest campaign to raise awareness of the disease. Members of the Wales squad helped produce a short video and promotional material for the campaign titled 'The Best Defence - is to know the FACTS'.
Defending champions Coleg Sir Gar reached their second consecutive Millennium Stadium final as they defeated Coleg Gwent in the WRU Wednesday Under 18 play-off. Watch highlights of their narrow 10-8 win here.