Cardiff - Wales hooker Lloyd Burns is to miss the whole of this season's Six Nations after being sidelined for three months with a neck injury, it was announced Thursday.
The 27-year-old went from playing Welsh Premiership club rugby to representing Wales at last year's World Cup all in the space of 18 months.
But now the Newport Gwent Dragons forward has been told to take at least a three-month break from rugby to give his neck injury-- a common problem for front-rowers - the chance to heal.
"Lloyd has been advised to withdraw from rugby for at least three months in order to fully rehab his neck," Dragons rugby director Robert Beale said.
"We are obviously disappointed for Lloyd, particularly with the Six Nations coming up, but Lloyd's safety and welfare has to be paramount."
Injuries meant experienced hookers Matthew Rees and Richard Hibbard missed the World Cup but the pair are back playing again and set to secure places in Wales' Six Nations squad, due to be announced later this month.
Wales begin the tournament away to Ireland in Dublin on February 5.