Hooker Matthew Rees has been ruled out of Wales' opening RBS 6 Nations clash with Ireland in Dublin on Sunday because of injury.
The former Wales captain is set to be out for two weeks with a calf strain, which would also mean him missing the Millennium Stadium appointment with Scotland on Sunday week.
Rees is in a battle for the number two shirt with Huw Bennett, with World Cup hooker Bennett set to start in Dublin and win his 50th cap.
Rees' absence now means a probable place on the bench for his Scarlets team-mate Ken Owens, who made his Test debut during the World Cup in New Zealand.
The injury to Rees is the latest blow to Wales, with fitness doubts remaining over centre Jamie Roberts, fly-half Rhys Priestland and flanker Dan Lydiate.
Wales coach Warren Gatland has already lost prop Gethin Jenkins and his World Cup locks Luke Charteris and Alun-Wyn Jones due to injuries as they prepare for a World Cup quarter-final rematch against Ireland at the Aviva Stadium.
Gatland will announce his team on Friday.