Waratahs wing Drew Mitchell has revealed that he will not be fit in time for his team's Super Rugby opening game against the Reds, leaving the Sydney side seriously short on firepower out wide for the Aussie derby.
The Waratahs were dealt a blow earlier in the week when it was confirmed that their other star wing Lachlan Turner will be unavailable for the entire season due to an injured hamstring, and at this stage it is not clear when Mitchell will be back, leaving them short of quality on the wing.
Mitchell was struck down by a nasty ankle injury during the Super Rugby season last year and recovered just in time to be named in the Wallabies World Cup squad, but had to travel home early from New Zealand with a similar problem, so he is taking the cautious approach this time to guard against long-term injury.
"It's really more long term for me,'' the 27-year-old Mitchell told AAP. "With the area [the injury is in] and the issues I've had with it, there is a chance it could impact me long term and I can't let my excitement come over the top and make the decision for me.
"If I thought I could, I definitely would be playing [against the Reds] but I guess I know my body pretty well and I'm at the point now where I've resigned myself to the fact I won't be playing in that game."
The elusive wing underwent ankle surgery in November and was given 12 weeks to recover, so his unavailability for the match against the Reds will not be a surprise, although it does leave the Waratahs short on experience out wide.
*Meanwhile veteran Waratahs lock Dan Vickerman is apparently considering retirement after sustaining a new leg injury that has sidelined him from the game indefinitely.
The 32-year-old underwent a shoulder reconstruction after the World Cup last year and it is feared that this latest injury may be the final straw as it does not look likely that he will be able to play Super Rugby this year.
Gilbert has released a new line of rugby cleats. The Gilbert Virtuo 8S is part of the exciting new product. Check it out.
The Barbarians are one of the top invitational rugby sides with a long history and classic rugby jersey.
The Nike Tiempo is a solid rugby cleat and one of few styles still made from full-grain natural leather.
The Lions get ready for their matches with this green training jersey. It's what the players wear. Get in the Gear!
A cool looking all black rugby cleat with the high performance adidas is known for. Get in the Gear!
Wear the crest of the British and Irish Lions on your t-shirt. A great look for the summer.
The Lions are ready to get their Australia tour underway. They arrive in Perth on Monday.
The New Zealand All Blacks training jersey for 2013/14. Get in the Gear!
The USA Rugby Pro Alternate rugby jersey is perfect for any fan of the Eagles. Get yours to wear during the summer Test matches.
The NEW All Blacks 2013/14 jersey has arrived at World Rugby Shop. Dare to wear the colors of the All Blacks.