18 May, 15:44
It's down to the wire now for the five contenders who have been shortlisted for the ultimate individual accolade in northern hemisphere rugby, ERC European Player of the Year 2013.
The news of Richards' injury provides coach Warren Gatland with further midfield woe. His first-choice centres, Stuart Abbott and Fraser Waters, have missed most of the games and now the back-up pair of Ayoola Erinle and Richards are out.
This leaves Gatland with only two fit centres, Abbott and Rob Hoadley for the European battles.
Erinle, who strained a hamstring in the second leg of the Heineken Cup pool matches against Leicester, has made a considerable impact in his 12 matches. Wasps hope that he will be available to face Biarritz on January 15 in what could be the crucial tie in deciding the pool-one qualifiers.
Richards has made 11 starts this season but the England pair of Abbott, only five, and Waters, after an ankle injury, two. If needs must Wasps could introduce Ed Thrower, normally a wing or full back, to the midfield in domestic competition but he is not registered to play in Europe - something dear to Wasps' hearts after their recent Powergen Cup disqualification.