Tomas Francis: Wales prop to miss start of Six Nations
Wales prop Tomas Francis will miss the start of the 2020 Six Nations because of a shoulder injury suffered at the 2019 World Cup.
The Exeter Chiefs tight-head suffered the injury as Wales lost to South Africa in the semi-finals in Japan.
Francis has undergone surgery with Exeter saying he is "now likely to be sidelined for up to four months following injury".
Wales' Six Nations starts against Italy in Cardiff on Saturday, 1 February.
Exeter have also lost tight-head Greg Holmes to injury, prompting them to sign Argentine Enrique Pieretto as cover until the end of the 2019-20 season.
New Wales coach Wayne Pivac is to announce his first squad on Tuesday, 19 November for the uncapped game against Barbarians in Cardiff on Saturday, 30 November.
As an England-based player, Francis would not have been available for that encounter against a team coached by Pivac's predecessor Warren Gatland.
Chiefs boss Rob Baxter said: "After two or three scans it became clear that Tom needs an operation to repair the shoulder injury he picked up with Wales at the World Cup.
"It's not great news for us, but at least we know where we stand now.
"We've therefore moved pretty quickly not just because we've lost Tom, but also Greg's Achilles has proved more problematic than we first thought.
"Again, he's going to be out for two or three months, so we felt it was the right thing to do to strengthen ourselves at tight-head."