Italy's most capped player Sergio Parisse will miss their two opening matches of this year's Six Nations as he recovers from a wrist issue, head coach Kieran Crowley said on Thursday.
In December, former captain Parisse, 38, said he was ready for a Test return after last playing for his country at the 2019 Rugby World Cup, when his 'farewell' match against New Zealand was wiped out by a typhoon.
The Toulon No. 8 last featured for his club in early December due to the injury and they have had three games postponed owing to coronavirus cases.
The Azzurri start their campaign in France on February 6 before hosting England the following weekend.
They travel to Ireland on February 27 before finishing their tournament by hosting Scotland and heading to Wales.
"He hasn't played the last three-four weeks due to the Covid-19 situation," Crowley told reporters.
"We discussed and agreed that plan would be that he'll play with his club, they have four matches in the next weeks.
"Then we'll reconsider a call-up for the Ireland match or for the two others. He needs to rediscover some confidence after such a long time without playing," he added.
Parisse is set to feature for Toulon on Saturday as they head to Worcester Warriors in the European Challenge Cup.
Backs (14): Pierre Bruno, Monty Ioane, Tommaso Menoncello, Federico Mori, Edoardo Padovani; Juan Ignacio Brex, Luca Morisi, Marco Zanon; Giacomo Da Re, Paolo Garbisi, Leonardo Marin; Callum Braley, Alessandro Fusco, Stephen Varney
Forwards (19): Toa Halafihi, Michele Lamaro (captain), Sebastian Negri, Giovanni Pettinelli, Braam Steyn, Manuel Zuliani; Niccolo Cannone, Marco Fuser, Federico Ruzza, David Sisi; Pietro Ceccarelli, Danilo Fischetti, Ivan Nemer, Tiziano Pasquali, Cherif Traore, Giosue Zilocchi; Epalahame Faiva, Gianmarco Lucchesi, Giacomo Nicotera