Cardiff Blues' hopes of a first Heineken Cup quarter-final in five seasons have been hit hard by the news that star second row Bradley Davies could miss the remainder of the pool stages.
The Wales international faces a significant spell on the sidelines after undergoing surgery on his shoulder following last week's latest round of Test action.
Davies suffered the setback in his country's four-try 40-9 win over Argentina at the Millennium Stadium on Saturday and has now been operated on as a result.
No date has been set for a possible return but he looks like facing an uphill battle to be fit to feature in any of the four Pool 2 fixtures over the coming weeks.
Davies won't be available when the Blues return to European action with a double header against Glasgow Warriors next month and the January clashes with Heineken Cup holders Toulon and English outfit Exeter Chiefs could also come too soon for the 26-year-old.
"Wales and Cardiff Blues second row Bradley Davies has been ruled out of the final Dove Men Series fixture against Australia due to a shoulder injury," read a statement from the Welsh Rugby Union.
"Davies suffered the injury in Wales' record victory over Argentina last weekend and, after medical assessments, he has undergone surgical intervention. He has been released back to Cardiff Blues alongside regional team-mate Cory Allen."
The Blues were on a major Heineken Cup high after shocking champions Toulon at the Arms Park in the latest round of action but the absence of one of their most talented and consistent performers is a big loss as they strive to repeat their semi-final showing from 2009.
The fact that it comes on the back of another shoulder to injury to centre Allen will make it even harder to take, especially as both men had been in superb form for the region prior to their injury problems.
Test debutant Allen was forced out of the Argentina game late on and the Blues are expected to make an announcement on how long will be out for in the coming days.
The atmospheric Stade Vélodome in Marseille looks set for a 40,000 plus attendance for the Heineken Cup semi-final clash on Sunday, 27 April between reigning champions, Toulon - gunning for a fourth European final in five years - and Munster Rugby, who have reached a record 11th tournament semi-final.