Newport Gwent Dragons will be without the services of lock Luke Charteris for the foreseeable future – and possibly longer term as well.
Charteris has had an operation on an injured wrist and is expected to be out of RaboDirect PRO12 action until after the Six Nations campaign ends.
That represents a huge blow to the Gwent region who sit second bottom of the league table having won just two RaboDirect PRO12 games this term.
However a bigger blow to the Dragons will be speculation linking the 28-year-old – whose current deal runs out at the end of the season – with a move to France.
Charteris’ agent, Christian Abt, has confirmed the second row is a target for a host of clubs, including a number of French outfits.
“Luke is looking at his options and has been approached by a number of French clubs,” said Abt.
Wales fly-half James Hook’s current employers Perpignan, who the Dragons defeated in the Amlin Cup earlier this month, are believed to be in the race for his signature, a move which would increase the tally of high-profile Welsh players plying their trade across the channel to four.