MILAN: Italy centre Gonzalo Canale is facing more than six months on the sidelines after suffering a fracture to his right leg in the 19-14 defeat to Argentina in Rome, the Italian rugby federation said Sunday.
Canale was forced off in the final minutes of the game and replaced by Tommaso Benvenuti, before being immediately taken to hospital.
The La Rochelle centre spent the night in hospital where he has been diagnosed with a "fracture of the tibial plateau on the right leg", according to the statement issued by the federation (FIR).
It added that Canale, one of Italy's most experienced players, who picked up his 86th cap on Saturday, was facing a "functional recovery" time of around six months.
That would rule the Argentine-born back out of Italy's Six Nations campaign in February and March.
Italy enjoyed perhaps their best ever Six Nations campaigns last season after securing wins over France and Ireland and coming within seven points of what would have been a momentous victory over England.
However that was mitigated by an unspectacular November series -- following on the back of a poor June tour to South Africa -- with the Azzurri losing heavily to Australia (50-20), missing out against Argentina and claiming only one unconvincing win (37-31) over an ill-disciplined Fiji, who were at one point reduced to briefly to 11 men.