THE Dragons will be without Ross Moriarty for a daunting run of fixtures after the Wales back row forward had ankle surgery.
The 26-year-old suffered an injury when training with the national side ahead of their autumn Tests.
Moriarty missed the friendly against France and Six Nations finale against Scotland but was hoping to feature in the Autumn Nations Cup.
However, he suffered another blow ahead of the opener against Ireland and was released back to the Dragons.
Moriarty was assessed by the region’s medical staff in Ystrad Mynach last week and a specialist advised that he goes under the knife.
“Op has gone well and the road to recovery begins,” the 2017 Lions tourist posted on Instagram.
The Dragons are yet to give an indication of a timescale for a return but the loss of Moriarty is a blow, even though the back row is an area of strength for the Dragons.
The region travel to Glasgow in the Guinness PRO14 this weekend then return to Europe’s premier tournament for the first time since 2011.
Champions Cup clashes with Wasps and Bordeaux-Begles are followed by festive derbies against Cardiff Blues, the Scarlets and Ospreys.
They then finish their European campaign will director of rugby Dean Ryan admitting the run of tough games made Sunday’s success at Benetton all the more important.
"The games are coming now until we can take a breath in February, so this was good for us," said Ryan.
“We are going to have a ball in the Champions Cup, we are really going to enjoy ourselves, but we recognise how tough the competition is going to be.
"We need to be prepared for that, so to win in Benetton is a good start."
The Dragons lost flanker Ben Fry to an elbow injury in Sunday’s win against Benetton in Treviso.
That leaves in-form Harri Keddie, Ollie Griffiths and Taine Basham in pole position for the starts with Huw Taylor, Lewis Evans and Lennon Greggains the other candidates.
Aaron Wainwright will feature for Wales in their autumn finale against Italy this weekend before returning for the Champions Cup.