British and Irish Lions skipper Sam Warburton is to miss four months of action due to a long-standing neck injury which requires surgery.
The 28-year-old will go under the knife in an attempt to rectify the problem, ruling him out of Wales's four upcoming Autumn Internationals.
Warburton's club side Cardiff Blues announced that the injury was "exacerbated" in training this week, as the flanker closed in on a return to action following his post-Lions break.
A Blues statement read: "Sam Warburton will undergo surgery following a recurrence of a long-standing neck injury. The Cardiff Blues flanker, who led the British and Irish Lions to a drawn Test series with New Zealand in the summer, exacerbated the injury in training this week.
"He has undergone scans and has been reviewed by a consultant, who confirmed the management plan. It is likely that Sam will miss a period of up to four months."
Warburton has been capped 74 times by Wales and skippered the Lions on their last two tours.