Exeter lose Francis to injury
Exeter Chiefs Tomas Francis will miss the start of the Six Nations due to a shoulder problem.
The 27-year-old could be out of action for up to four months after suffering the problem on international duty with Wales at the Rugby World Cup.
Francis went down injured in the semi-final defeat to South Africa in Yokohama, Japan.
The Chiefs have now confirmed he will need to have surgery and that means he should miss Wales' opening Six Nations match against Italy on February 1.
Exeter have already lost fellow prop Greg Holmes until the start of next year, which has forced them to sign Argentina's Enrique Pieretto as cover until the end of the season.
Confirming the injury blow, Exeter Chiefs director of rugby Rob Baxter told reporters: "After two or three scans it became clear that Tom needs an operation to repair the shoulder injury he picked up with Wales at the World Cup.
"It's not great news for us but at least we know where we stand now. We've therefore moved pretty quickly, not just because we've lost Tom but also Greg's Achilles has proved more problematic than we first thought.
"Again, he's going to be out for two or three months, so we felt it was the right thing to do to strengthen ourselves at tight-head."
Tom Hill offers a strong insight into football and rugby league, whilst also having a good knowledge of several other sports including boxing, horse racing and American Football.