BRITISH and Irish Lions centre Jonathan Davies is set to miss most of Wales' Six Nations defence because of injury.
Davies, aged 25, has not played since suffering a pectoral injury in Wales' defeat by South Africa in November.
The Scarlets say their captain, who is to leave for French side Clermont Auvergne at the end of the season, is progressing well and taking part in light training.
He will return to action in early March and Wales' last two Championship games take place on March 9 and March 15.
Davies should be available for Wales later in the year, however, as he has secured “full release” as part of his two-year contract at Stade Marcel Michelin.
“He has got full release, similar to Jamie Roberts and Dan Lydiate [both Racing Metro], so in terms of his availability to play for Wales in an autumn series he would be fully available,” said Wales assistant coach Rob Howley.
At the time of the move being announced in November, Scarlets head coach Simon Easterby said it would have been a difficult decision for Davies to make.
“He has always taken great pride in having his rugby roots in West Wales and I know this will have been a tough decision for him personally, and probably one of head over heart,” he said.
“His commitment to our region during this, the first part of his rugby career has been evident and I know that having grown up in our region he will always want to be closely associated with Scarlets rugby now and in the future.”
Clermont sporting director Jean-Marc Lhermet said: “His profile fits perfectly to the game that we practise. We can only be delighted to welcome Jonathan.
“Despite his young age, he has a huge experience of high-level matches and is one of the world’s best players in his position. He will be an asset to our team.
“Jonathan decided to leave Wales for a new adventure, and we are happy that it is with the ‘yellow and blue’.
“In addition to his class, he has determination to help us win new titles in the years to come.”
Davies was one of the Lions' stars in their victorious tour of Australia in the summer, playing in all three Tests.
He will join several other Welsh stars in France, including full-back Lee Byrne at Clermont, former Newport Gwent Dragons flanker Lydiate and ex-Blues centre Roberts at Racing Metro and utility back James Hook and ex-Dragons lock Luke Charteris at Perpignan.