Wales interim head coach Rob Howley admits the loss of Rhys Priestland for next year's RBS 6 Nations is a major blow.
The Scarlets fly-half ruptured his Achilles against Exeter Chiefs last Saturday and face six months on the sidelines after undergoing surgery.
"I'm hugely disappointed to lose such a talented player," said Howley.
"He turned his performances around in the autumn and had one of his best games in a Wales jersey against Australia, that spoke volumes about him.
"But the key thing now is to get the injury right. He's shown great character over the last four weeks and I'm sure that fortitude will come in over the next six months."
Despite the loss of Priestland, Howley is confident Wales have the strength and depth to cope in the Championship.
"We have good competition at 10 with Dan Biggar and James Hook," added Howley.
"They are hugely skilful players and Dan was one of the form players going into the autumn."
Priestland could still return to action before the end of the 2012-13 season and his national and regional teammate Jon Davies, whom he shares a flat with in Cardiff, reckons he will come back stronger.
"It's huge blow and a bad injury. It's been a tough couple of months for him but I'm sure Rhys has got the character to bounce back from this.
"He had a tough couple of weeks at the start of the autumn then started to come through it. He could probably see light at the end of the tunnel then to have this is a major blow.
"It's a big loss for the Scarlets and Wales. Rhys is a world-class player, he's our 10 and plans the tactics on the field."
Davies has also experienced long-term periods on the sidelines but he reckons the hardships strengthen players' resolve and he has promised to keep a close eye on his flatmate.
"You've got to keep yourself occupied," added Davies.
"For most of the first couple of weeks you will be on the sofa. You have to keep yourself mentally fresh otherwise you will go mental.
"It is a tough time but these injuries make you a stronger player - you want to be on the field more. Hopefully, it will work as a positive in the long-term.
"He was okay at the weekend. He has come to terms with it but it's a bitter pill to swallow. Saturday night the flat was a pretty dim place.
"We had to look after him and give him a bit of a cwtch. Fenby (Andy) has got a bell for Rhys to ring!"
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.
Reaction from Scotland and a special focus on Welsh Women's rugby in this week's Principality Welsh Rugby Union Podcast. We hear from Wales captain Sam Warburton and coach Warren Gatland, as well as Wales U20 reaction from forwards coach Geraint Lewis, along with Josh Adams and Olly Griffiths. There is also a special focus on Welsh Women's rugby with coach Rhys Edwards, as well as hearing from clubs Bedlinog, Penybanc, Kidwelly and Skewen. We also speak to volunteer of the year, Sue Davies on Whitland and the Scarlets.
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.
Disappointment at the Millennium Stadium, but don't be sad because two out of three is not bad in this week's Principality Welsh Rugby Union Podcast as the 20s and Women both win. We hear from Sam Warburton, Dan Lydiate, Alun Wyn Jones, Jamie Roberts and Leigh Halfpenny about the defeat to England and looking forward to Scotland. Wales U20s captain Ollie Griffiths, back Josh Adams and forwards coach Geraint Lewis talk about their victory over double world champions England, while Wales Women also beat a world championship winning England team - we speak to backs Elinor Snowsill, Ade Taviner and Laurie Harris.
England coach Stuart Lancaster gives his verdict after seeing his skipper Chris Robshaw lead his side to victory against Wales at the Millennium Stadium in the opening game of the RBS 6 Nations championship.