It never rains it only pours as far as Cardiff Blues and Wales scrum half Ryan Powell is concerned. If there were a vote for the unluckiest player in the Heineken Cup then the 24-year-old would be right up there.
First it was a broken thumb, which cost him a trip with Wales to Australia and New Zealand. Then it was shin splints that forced him out of the reckoning for the World Cup and to have an operation.
Shoulder reconstruction in the summer forced him to miss the opening two months of this season and now he is 50-50 to be fit for this weekend's Pool 6 game at Gloucester because of a rib injury picked up at The Borders last weekend in only his third game back.
And all this has come on top of two broken legs and a broken jaw earlier in his career.
"I've had a string of injuries and this rib thing is the icing on the cake. I'm just hoping it will clear up in time for me to challenge for a place against Gloucester this weekend," said Powell.
Powell was a starry-eyed youngster looking on from the replacements bench as understudy to Rob Howley the last time Cardiff Blues met Gloucester in the quarter-finals of the Heineken Cup in 2001. And ever since he went under the knife in the summer he had been timing his return to coincide with the return to Kingsholm.
"When I had the operation on my shoulder I targeted the second sequence of matches in the Heineken Cup for my return to full match fitness. I knew it would be a return to Kingsholm to meet Gloucester and I knew it would mean getting a crack at playing against Andy Gomarsall," said Powell.
"He's probably the leading contender for the British & Irish Lions No 9 jersey at the moment because of his experience. Peter Stringer will be pushing him, along with the two Welsh boys Dwayne Peel and Gareth Cooper, and so it will be a great way for me to find out where my game is if I can meet him twice in successive weekends."
The directors of ERC voted unanimously at a Board meeting to postpone all decisions including the release of further instalments of ERC's distributable central revenues to the six shareholder countries until 19 February next when the Board will meet again to reconsider the issue.