London - Australian international back Matt Toomua is likely to miss six months of the season, delivering a hammer blow to English Premiership side Leicester Tigers on Wednesday.
The 26-year-old - capped 33 times including last year's World Cup final defeat by the All Blacks - is to undergo knee surgery after being injured in last Sunday's crucial 27-17 European Champions Cup win over last season's finalists Racing 92.
"Richard Cockerill (the club's rugby director) confirms Matt Toomua having surgery on his knee and will be out for around six months. We wish him a speedy recovery," Leicester said on Twitter.
Toomua, who joins England centre Manu Tuilagi on the sidelines, signed for the Tigers from ACT Brumbies on a three-year contract earlier this term, bringing down the curtain on his Test career while he is in England as he has not accrued the minimum 60 caps to be eligible for selection.
He made just two appearances for the Tigers - and was fortunate to escape a red card for a tip tackle on his debut for the club in the 42-13 Champions Cup thrashing by Glasgow.