Pro12: Neck injury blow for Scarlets' Wales hooker Ken Owens

Ken Owens
Ken Owens has won 26 Wales caps

Scarlets' Wales hooker Ken Owens is to undergo neck surgery, ruling him out of all four autumn Tests.

He was already ruled out of Scarlets' Pro12 clash against Edinburgh on Friday following an injury that ruled him out of their 43-0 Pro12 win over Treviso on Saturday.

The Parc y Scarlets captain, 27, pulled out ahead of kick-off last weekend.

"Scans have confirmed the he's injured a disc in his neck," said Scarlets head of performance Andrew Walker.

Wales' autumn Tests
Saturday, 8 November: v Australia (14:30 BST)
Saturday, 15 November: v Fiji (14:30 BST)
Saturday, 22 November: v New Zealand (17:30 BST)
Saturday, 29 November: v South Africa (14:30 BST)
*All games to be played at Millennium Stadium, Cardiff

"After a thorough process, involving consultations with three neck specialists, we have decided that surgery is the best course of action."

Wales face games on successive weekends in November against Australia, Fiji, New Zealand and South Africa.

Owens has won 26 caps and took over from then-injured Richard Hibbard on Wales' two-Test series against South Africa in June.

Scarlets captain Owens scored a try in Wales' 31-30 second Test defeat.

His tour understudy was former Scarlets skipper Matthew Rees, who returned for Cardiff Blues after treatment for testicular cancer during the 2013-14 season.

Scarlets head coach Wayne Pivac said: "It's a shame for both Ken on a personal level and the team as a whole that he will require surgery on the injury he received earlier last week to his neck."

Ospreys hooker Scott Baldwin was the third hooker on tour to South Africa, but he did not appear in the Test-match squads.

Hibbard has since returned to fitness from shoulder surgery to begin his life at Gloucester following an off-season move from Ospreys.

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