France's Six Nations hopes have been dealt a seismic blow with the news that captain Thierry Dusautoir will miss the tournament.
The Toulouse flanker has been ruled out for three to four months with a ruptured ligament in his bicep, according to reports in France.
Dusautoir sustained the injury in Toulouse's 16-6 win over Zebre in the Heineken Cup on Saturday.
France will now be without the inspirational talisman for the whole tournament, with Dusautoir also likely to miss the quarter finals of the Heineken Cup for Toulouse.
Dusautoir guided France to the Rugby World Cup Final in 2011, winning the IRB Player of the Year award.
The 32-year-old is now likely to be replaced as captain for the Six Nations by Pascal Papé.