Scotland were handed a huge boost ahead of their RBS 6 Nations opener with France when world-class centre Yannick Jauzion was ruled out of the Murrayfield clash through injury.
The Toulouse star is recovering from the broken hand he suffered in his side's Heineken Cup clash with Leicester at the end of last year.
The elusive back is poised to make his return to action against Auch on January 25 or a week later against Montpellier - too late to make the game against Scotland in the first week of February.
Jauzion, however, may be back in time to face Ireland in France's second RBS 6 Nations match on February 9, but he believes a return to the side for the Stade de France showdown against England on February 23 is more likely.
"I imagine I will be in contention for the third match, because they are going to keep the same 22 for the first two games in the opening week," said the 50-cap star.
Frank Hadden's men will also not face legendary flanker Serge Betsen after the Biarritz star retired from international rugby with immediate effect.
The fearless forward, who has 63 caps to his name, will quit the game altogether at the end of this season.
The 33-year-old, whose last appearance for Les Bleus came in the World Cup semi-final defeat against England, follows Fabien Pelous, Raphael Ibanez and Christophe Dominici in retiring from Test rugby in the aftermath of the 2007 World Cup.
Betsen said: "I suffered an injury [back] just after the World Cup, and it has caused me concern. Even if I could play again with my club, I am not at 100 per cent to demand a place in the France team."
As head coach Stuart Lancaster polishes the axe he will soon wield over his World Cup training squad, Exeter Chiefs coach Rob Baxter has backed Jack Nowell, Henry Slade and Luke Cowan-Dickie to be given a stay of execution.
Italy Under-20s held off a late Samoa blitz to retain their place in the World Rugby U20 Championship on Saturday and head coach Alessandro Troncon believes the experience will have served as a valuable lesson for his young troops.