Leinster and Ireland scrum-half Guy Easterby will be sidelined for upwards of six weeks after fracturing his jaw in action for his province against Ulster last Saturday.
The 34-year-old was replaced late in the first half of last weekend's 30-23 Celtic League win for Leinster at Donnybrook, and tests have confirmed a broken jaw for the 28 times-capped Irish international.
The injury is certain to keep Easterby out of Leinster's opening two Heineken Cup pool fixtures against Bath and Glasgow, later this month. Scrum halves Brian O'Meara and Brian O'Riordan will now come into the reckoning for Easterby's number 9 jersey for the province.
What role Easterby can play in the forthcoming November internationals is as yet unclear, but he seems likely to miss New Zealand (November 12) and Australia (November 19) ties.
With first choice Ireland scrum-half Peter Stringer also currently nursing a knee injury that will keep him out of the game for three-four weeks, Ireland coach Eddie O'Sullivan may look to Ulster duo Kieran Campbell and Isaac Boss, the recently arrived Irish-qualified New Zealander, for scrum-half assistance next month.