London - Worcester are furious that South Africa star Francois Hougaard has returned from international duty with a shoulder injury.
Hougaard has won 39 caps for the Springboks and is one of Worcester's most influential players, but he is set for a lengthy spell on the sidelines after discovering he needs shoulder surgery.
The extent of his injury, which is likely to keep him out for the rest of 2016, only surfaced when he underwent checks by Worcester's medical department after reporting back for club duty.
Worcester's high performance director Nick Johnston said: "We are extremely disappointed that Francois returned to the club with an undiagnosed injury.
"As a club, player welfare is our priority, and we will be using our every resource to ensure that Francois has access to the right surgeon and that he receives the highest level of support during his rehabilitation."
The 28-year-old is equally adept as a scrumhalf or wing, and he has extended his stay with Worcester after initially joining them on a short-term deal last February.
In a statement, Worcester said: "The Warriors medical department assessed Hougaard on his return to Sixways and diagnosed the player with a shoulder injury.
"Hougaard visited specialist consultants following the diagnosis and was given an MRI scan to allow the club to fully understand the extent of the injury.
"The scan confirmed that Hougaard will need a Biceps Tenodesis and rotator cuff repair and will be ruled out of action for 10 to 12 weeks."