London Irish will be without star signing Ben Franks for 12 weeks after the former All Black was ruled out through injury.
The long lay-off is because Franks has ruptured his bicep tendon.
After discussions with the appropriate specialists the decision has been made to surgically repair the bicep tendon. The recovery period is 12 weeks.
Franks has solidified Irish's scrum in recent weeks, including in the crucial win over Newcastle Falcons at the start of January.
The former Crusaders and Hurricanes prop joined the Exiles after winning his second Rugby World Cup with New Zealand last year.