London - Wales's preparations for the Rugby World Cup received a weighty blow on Wednesday when the Welsh Rugby Union (WRU) announced that centre Jonathan Davies will miss the tournament through injury.
The 27-year-old requires surgery after rupturing the anterior cruciate ligament in his knee while playing for Clermont against Montpellier in the Top 14 last weekend and is likely to be sidelined for six or seven months.
"It's a disappointment for Jonathan and for us, but the advice is for him to have the surgery straight away," head coach Warren Gatland said in a statement released by the WRU.
"Obviously the injury rules him out of the 2015 Rugby World Cup, but our focus is his long-term career and we will be working closely with him during his recovery looking towards the 2016 RBS 6 Nations."
Davies's absence will be keenly felt by Gatland, as the former Scarlets player, capped 48 times, is a key member of the Welsh line-up.
Wales, semi-finalists at the 2011 World Cup, have been drawn in Pool A for this year's tournament alongside hosts England, Australia, Fiji and Uruguay.
They launch their campaign against Uruguay at Cardiff's Millennium Stadium on September 20.