GLASGOW WARRIORS have been hit hard by the news that powerhouse prop Jon Welsh is out for six months after under-going shoulder surgery.
The 25-year-old sustained the injury on the victorious Scotland tour of Australasia, and went under the knife at the beginning of the week.
The news is a hammer blow to new Warriors coach Gregor Townsend, who would have been looking on Welsh as a key cornerstone of his tight five.
Welsh's outstanding Scotland debut in the defeat in Rome at the hands of Italy was the only high point to a woeful finale to the Six Nations campaign.
However, it now looks certain he will not feature in a Glasgow jersey until the second half of the new season. Townsend said: "It's disappointing for Jon, and the club as a whole, that he will miss a substantial amount of rugby.
"He will receive excellent care and attention from our medical team as he recovers, and we look forward to welcoming him back.
"On behalf of everyone at the club, I'd like to wish Jon all the best. He's a positive character, which will stand him in good stead for the challenges ahead."
Welsh was operated on by Miss Julie McBirnie, a shoulder specialist at Spire Murrayfield Hospital, and has now begun his rehabilitation under the care of the Warriors' medical team.
However, while gutted by the news Welsh will miss the first-half of the campaign, Toony believes his squad has the depth to cope.
He added: "We have Ryan Grant, who had an outstanding tour Down Under with Scotland, and big Gordon Reid in the mix at loose head, so we have some depth to absorb this blow.
"What is most important for us is that Jon has a good rehab. Glasgow have had a couple of shoulder injuries over the last couple of seasons and I think the experience in dealing with these will be a plus in Jon's rehab.
"Sadly, injury in professional rugby is part and parcel of the modern game and you just have to get on with it."