Wales flanker Martyn Williams admitted it will be virtually impossible to replace injured captain Gareth Thomas for the remainder of the RBS 6 Nations.
Thomas suffered a fractured thumb in Wales' dramatic 24-18 victory over France and is set to have an operation on Monday to insert a plate and screws to help mend the break.
Thomas, nicknamed Alfie by his team-mates, will have to watch from the sidelines as Wales chase their first championship title since 1994 and a first Grand Slam since 1978.
"You are not going to replace Alfie. We are lucky we have so many talented backs but as a man, he is our skipper, he is our leader," said Williams.
"It is going to be a big, big loss to us. Hopefully we can pull through that and whoever comes in will step into his shoes and come in."
Wales travel to Murrayfield to take on Scotland on March 13 before hosting Ireland in a potential grand slam decider at the Millennium Stadium a week later.
Number eight Michael Owen is set to take over from Thomas as captain after leading the side magnificently in the second half at the Stade de France.
Rhys Williams replaced Thomas at full-back in Paris but Wales coach Mike Ruddock also has the option of the experienced Kevin Morgan.
Martyn Williams revealed Wales were determined to stage their second-half fight-back against France in honour of their injured skipper.
Wales trailed 15-6 after being overrun by a rampant French side but Martyn Williams scored two tries within five minutes of the restart as Wales charged into the lead. Stephen Jones then extended the advantage to 24-18 before victory was sealed with some fierce goalline defence.
"You can't speak highly enough of Alfie. He has emphasised what it means to be a squad, that no-one is bigger than anyone else," said flanker Williams.
"At half-time all the boys were saying: 'Let's do this for Alfie. We don't want to let him down'."
England Under-18 head coach John Fletcher insists his young side will be better for the experience after beating Italy in the bronze final to round out their 2015 Rugby Europe U18 Championship campaign in style.