Ireland could run into problems with star flank Sean O'Brien unlikely to be available for the year-end Test matches.
O'Brien is among the best openside flanks in the world, having demonstrated that in the shock World Cup triumph over Australia. He was also one of the few Irishmen to emerge from the recent series against New Zealand with his reputation intact.
However, the 25-year-old has picked up a hip injury that requires surgery, and will keep him sidelined for the rest of the year.
Ireland team manager Mick Kearney has confirmed that O'Brien would go under the knife this week.
"Sean is having some keyhole surgery on his hip to repair some cartilage damage within the next week or so, and the recovery period for this type of operation is 13 to 15 weeks," Kearney told the Irish Times. "It means it could be up to four months. Obviously it's going to make him doubtful for November.
"Like any operation there is some risk attached to it but the medics feel he will make a full recovery and that he will certainly be back towards the end of October and he should be back playing Heineken Cup rounds three and four in December."
Kearney added that the Irish flank is expected to make a full recovery and the injury shouldn't affect the rest of his career.
Ireland have become accustomed to playing without some of their key players after captain Brian O'Driscoll missed this year's Six Nations through injury, while stalwart Paul O'Connell was unable to go on the tour to New Zealand.
During the November Test window Ireland will face South Africa and Argentina and will need to start considering their options on the side of the scrum with O'Brien unlikely to feature.