Cardiff Blues must plan without Wales' internationals Gethin Jenkins and flanker Martyn Williams who are both set to undergo shoulder operations in the coming days following injuries picked up on tour with the Lions.
Both Jenkins and Williams will go under the knife next week and join Tom Shanklin and Tom James on Blues Head Coach Dai Young's growing injury list.
Speaking to BBC.com the former Wales international Young revealed that neither of the experienced forwards would be available to the 2009 Heineken Cup semi-finalists until at least November and will miss the region's opening two Heineken Cup fixtures against Harlequins and Sale Sharks.
"We've got a number of injuries, probably more so than we did this time last year, which is unfortunate. Tom Shanklin, as we know, had a shoulder operation so he won't be ready for the start of the season. Tom James has had a shoulder operation - there are a lot of shoulders [injured] and obviously he'll be out until October as well.
We've got a number of players out, but I'm confident in the squad. As one door shuts another opens to give people opportunities within the squad. But it's fair to say we certainly don't want to pick up many more injuries before the season starts. In the early part of the Heineken Cup there may be one or two players missing, but we've recruited well. We've got a 36-man squad, but a 36-man squad full of quality so we're looking forward to it and confident we can have a good season."
As part of the build-up to next month's Cardiff 2014 Heineken Cup and Amlin Challenge Cup finals weekend, ERC has joined forces with the WRU, Cardiff Blues and adidas to develop an annual grassroots community rugby programme targeting young players.
The Ulster Rugby full back, Jared Payne (No 15), has been suspended for two (2) weeks following an independent Disciplinary Hearing in Dublin arising from the Heineken Cup quarter-final match against Saracens at Ravenhill Stadium on Saturday, 5 April.