Wallabies captain James Horwill is to undergo surgery on his hamstring on Tuesday and could be out of action until next year's Super Rugby series.
The lock, who ruptured his right hamstring playing for the Queensland Reds last month, will have the surgery in Sydney after a consultation with specialists Monday.
While there is some hope that Horwill may recover in time to feature on the Wallabies' tour to Europe in November, it is more likely that he will not be ready to return until next year's Super Rugby competition, team officials said.
In Horwill's absence, flank David Pocock has led the Wallabies to a series win over Wales.
His unavailability could well see veteran lock Nathan Sharpe, 34, extend his retirement date as Australia's experienced second row depth is extremely thin.
Horwill's unusual hyperextension injury, sustained in the Reds' 13-12 win over the Brumbies on May 27, is also a major blow for defending Super Rugby champions Queensland.
AFP & AAP