Wales captain Matthew Rees is set to miss his country's opening World Cup warm-up match against England after suffering a neck injury.
In the absence of Rees, Cardiff Blues flank Sam Warburton, who led Wales in their defeat to the Barbarians two months ago, is set to keep the captain's armband at Twickenham on Saturday.
Scarlets hooker Rees skippered Wales throughout last season's international schedule, but he has been struggling with the neck problem in recent weeks and Wales coach Warren Gatland admitted on Monday that surgery is a possibility.
Gatland hopes any operation would not take place until after Wales' World Cup campaign, which begins against South Africa on September 11, so Rees maye be used sparingly through the the warm-up programme to keep him fit for the tournament in New Zealand
"Matthew has had a bit of a neck problem for a few weeks," Gatland said. "He is getting injections and we're hopeful he will be alright in the next week or two.
"An operation is a definite possibility but we are hoping it definitely won't be before the World Cup. If he doesn't improve, he may need something after the World Cup.
"There is a bit of nerve pressure, and we're hopeful the injections will help. It is mainly affecting him when he is trying to sleep.
"Ideally, you would like him to play in the warm-ups because you don't want him to go in cold.
"He is getting frustrated because he hasn't been able to do much in the last couple of weeks."
Wales will play three World Cup warm-up fixtures this month, with a return match against England in Cardiff on August 13 followed by Argentina visiting the Millennium Stadium seven days later.
Gatland plans to announce his final 30-man World Cup squad for New Zealand on August 22.
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