Ospreys flanker Steve Tandy will miss the start of the new season with a muscle injury that is taking longer to heal than expected.
Flanker Steve Tandy will be a big loss to the Ospreys
The 27-year-old tore his left pectoral muscle in a collision with team-mate Andy Lloyd during a Magners League game against Munster last April.
Tandy underwent surgery in May and was expected to be out for four months.
Ospreys physio Brian Downey said: "He will probably be back in October or November, but it's hard to be precise."
The news is a blow for the Magners League champions, who will be without the majority of their first-choice players - and several of their second-choice - until October at the earliest because of World Cup call-ups.
Tandy has never received a Wales summons despite impressing at regional level and would have been one of the corner-stones for Ospreys coach Lyn Jones during the early season.
However, Ritchie Pugh is a ready-made replacement at open-side flanker who will now have the opportunity to press his claims for the Ospreys number seven shirt.