Wales and Clermont fullback Lee Byrne looks set for a long lay-off after breaking a bone in his back during Saturday’s European Cup clash with Leinster.
Clermont defeated the two-time defending champions 28-21 to leave the Irish province’s title defence hanging by a thread. However, the victory came at a hefty price with Byrne suffering a serious back injury.
The club said that they would have a better indication of the length of time Byrne would be sidelined once he undergoes further tests.
“He suffered a broken bone in his fifth vertebra,” Clermont announced.
“The length of his unavailability will be ascertained in the coming days by complementary examinations but we will not be seeing Lee Byrne again until at least the beginning of 2013.”
Clermont have a number of other concerns ahead of Friday’s Top 14 clash against Bordeaux-Begles. Captain and France centre Aurelien Rougerie has a painful pelvis, Fijian wing Napolioni Nalaga is struggling with a painful knee and Canadian lock Jamie Cudmore is battling with a badly bruised right shoulder.