Wales full-back Leigh Halfpenny has been backed to “tick every box” when he sets out on the road to recovery from a season-ending knee injury.
The Welsh Rugby Union onfirmed that Halfpenny would require surgery after suffering a knee ligament problem in Wales’ 68-12 victory over Canada on Saturday.
He is sidelined for Wales’ remaining summer Tests – two Principality Stadium appointments with Argentina – and the WRU added that further assessments would “determine his long-term prognosis and management”.
Halfpenny, 32, was hurt during the opening minutes of his 100th Test match for Wales and the British and Irish Lions.
“It was a tough one for everyone concerned,” Wales assistant coach Stephen Jones said.
“The guy is a fantastic professional, a class act. The standards he sets in the environment, and how he pushes things forward, he is ambitious to improve all the time.
“It was a special milestone for a guy who has worked incredibly hard and had an amazing career and has still got international rugby ahead of him. To have to leave the pitch so soon was unfair on him.
“One thing about Leigh is he is mentally tough. He will do everything in his control to make sure he recovers and comes back as soon as he can.
“He is a superb professional, he will tick every box from that perspective, and it will be nice to have him back with us as soon as we can.”
Dragons wing Jonah Holmes moved to full-back following Halfpenny’s exit, capping an impressive contribution by scoring two tries.
He is likely to be in head coach Wayne Pivac’s thoughts for the full-back role against Argentina this weekend, although fellow squad members Hallam Amos, Ioan Lloyd and Owen Lane are also potential candidates.
Wales have won their last four Tests against Argentina, but they are without 10 Lions players in South Africa for the Pumas’ latest Cardiff visit.
And they will also encounter a team buoyant following heroics against New Zealand and Australia last year, with Jones adding: “It is a great test.
“We are playing against a physical side, a side who are off a victory over New Zealand and two drawn games against Australia in Australia, so they will be feeling good about themselves.
“It doesn’t change for us. We are back in the stadium with a crowd, with an excellent group who are desperate to prove their value to the coaching group and are desperate for success, so it’s a great situation for us.”
Jones meanwhile, confirmed Cardiff fly-half Jarrod Evans was available for the Argentina clash following an injury, increasing options in that position alongside Callum Sheedy and Ben Thomas.
“Callum is a great ball player when it comes to attacking the line, and Jarrod is the same,” Jones said.
“They are both great attacking threats, and young Ben, who ran out at number 10 (against Canada).
“They’ve got great skill-sets where they can ask questions of defences. That is how we want to play the game, and we are blessed in that position.”