Wales Under 19 skipper Ioan Cunningham is out of the IRB/FIRA-AER Junior World Championships.
The brilliant Llanelli blindside flanker damaged ligaments in his right knee in leading Wales to victory over Italy at the weekend and will undergo surgery this week.
After leading the Welsh Schools Under 18 team last year, and playing in the 2001 Junior World Championships, Cunningham was all set to lead the Welsh side to Italy later this month.
Instead, he is facing a six month lay off after captaining his country against Australia Schools, New Zealand Schools, England Under 19, France Under 19 and Italy Under 19.
"It is a cruel blow for Ioan and the team. He has been in great form for us this season and has led the team very well," said Wales Under 19 coach David Rees.
"He will be a difficult man to replace in our 30-man squad for Italy. Everyone connected with the squad wishes Ioan a speedy recovery and I'm sure there are many more internationals to come for him in the future."
Wales kick-off their World campaign with a tough fixture against Georgia in Mirano on Thursday, 21 March. If they win that match they will face the winners of the game between Argentina and Japan.
As the countdown continues for RWC2015, Tournament Chief Executive Debbie Jevans visited the Millennium Stadium to discuss preparations for the eight matches and reveal the positive news that 100,000 tickets for games at the home of Welsh rugby have sold in the last seven days.
Jason Harries is targeting a first win on the World Series circuit this season with Wales. The series returns to action this weekend in Dubai where Harries is part of a team hoping to build from its efforts in round one in October.
Wales skipper Jevon Groves says his side have addressed a few points from Gold Coast and aim to 'hit the ground running' in the next two rounds of the World Series, kicking off with this weekend in Dubai before heading off to South Africa next week.
Wales Sevens manager Steff Thomas is hopeful his side can build from a quarter-final spot in the opening round of the World Series in Australia when his side take part in the forthcoming double header in Dubai and South Africa.