Wales centre Scott Williams is set to miss the remainder of the Six Nations because of a shoulder injury that could keep him out of action for three months.
The 23-year-old is expected to undergo surgery this week after leaving the field in the 17th minute of the 26-3 defeat to Ireland last weekend.
A Williams tackle had, in fact, left Brian O'Driscoll in a heap on the ground moments beforehand, prompting concern from the home fans for their talismanic centre. However, the Leinster back caught his breath after taking some time out and got to his feet, only for Williams to then signal to come off.
“Williams injured his right shoulder in Saturday’s defeat to Ireland and will require surgical intervention,” a WRU statement read today.
George North replaced him at outside centre during the game, with Liam Williams covering the winger from the bench. That could again be the solution Warren Gatland goes for in his side's next game against France, with Jonathan Davies set to be unavailable.
Davies is not ready as he continues his fitness fight after suffering pectoral muscle damage during the autumn Test series opener against South Africa three months ago.
“We are not too sure at the moment whether he will be available against France,” Gatland said on Tuesday. “He is still not 100 per cent. He played that game for the Scarlets last week and felt a little bit sore, so we are trying to assess him to get up to speed in terms of lifting weights and contact. He is not there at the moment, so he is not available at the moment.”
Wales face a potentially make-or-break home tie with France on Ferbruary 21st having beaten Italy and lost to Ireland in their two matches so far.