New Italian franchise Aironi Rugby have been hit with a series of early injury problems ahead of their debut season in the Heineken Cup and Magners League.
Italian international prop Matias Aguero returned to the club from a national training session in Aosta suffering from a left thigh strain which is set to sideline him for up to a month, while fellow international Simone Favaro broke his wrist in a recent club session in Viadana.
The injuries mean that Aguero, 17 times capped, Argentinean-born front rower, and the six-times capped flanker Favaro, will miss all of Aironi's pre-season warm-up matches.
They could also be struggling to be fit for his side's historic Magners League opener against Munster in Cork, but should be ready for action when their Pool 4 Heineken Cup campaign kicks-off in Northern Ireland against Ulster at Ravenhill on Friday, 8 October.
The Italian side will be seeking to make an immediate mark in Europe after forming around the old Viadana club. They also have bath and Biarritz Olympique in their Pool.
Aironi are due to launch their pre-season campaign in France with matches against the ProD2 sides Mont de Marsan (11 August) and Bordeaux-Begles (14 August). They will also travel to England to meet Northampton Saints at Franklin's Gardens (27 August).
There has been better news for the club in the return to training this week of another international back rower, Josh Sole, He underwent wrist surgery during the summer, while fellow internationals Pablo Canavosio and Paolo Buso have just spent two weeks each on the sidelines recovering from knocks.
International forwards Fabio Staibano, prop, and Andrea Benatti, flanker, are due to train for the first time with their new teammates next week after returning from injuries sustained last season.
Those players who toured South Africa with Italy in the summer are due to report back to their clubs on Wednesday, meaning the new squad will be complete for the first time.