Obviously it is a very big disappointment
New Rebels recruit Tom Sexton has injured the ACL Ligament in his right knee during pre-season, and is destined for a long stint on the sidelines.
The Melbourne-born hooker joined the franchise from Irish powerhouse Leinster, and was recruited to help fill the void left by departing hooker Ged Robinson.
Slated to compete with Pat Leafa and Shota Horie for the starting hooker position, Sexton's injury setback is set to see him ruled out of the entire 2014 Super Rugby season.
"Obviously it is a very big disappointment to lose somebody of Tom's on-field ability," Rebels coach Tony McGahan said.
"He has been impressing everybody with his commitment to training and his ability to acclimatise to the warm weather we have been experiencing.
"Tom's personality around the franchise has already seen him emerge as a favourite of the playing group, and the manner in which he has responded to this setback speaks volumes of Tom as a man. Tom joined the franchise on a two-year deal, and we are still committed to helping Tom play Super Rugby for the franchise in the future; it will just take a little longer than we originally thought."
Sexton will be utilised by the franchise in a non-playing capacity on game day, as well as continuing to take a keen involvement in the game at franchise level in Victoria.
There is no word at this stage on a replacement for Tom within the Rebels squad, although young Melbourne University (and Northern junior) hooker Moli Sooaemalelagi has been impressing the franchise during training.