The Waratahs have suffered a major blow ahead of next weekend's Super Rugby kick-off, with five-eighth Bernard Foley ruled out for up to a month with a shoulder injury.

Foley, playing his first trial for NSW this year after returning from a stint in Japan, was hurt in a tackle against the Highlanders in Queenstown on Friday night.

Waratahs officials said the Wallabies playmaker would miss “three to four weeks”, which rules him out of the first two games against Queensland and Brumbies, and potentially the crucial round four clash against the Highlanders following their third-round bye.

Kurtley Beale will take over at No.10 for NSW in place of Foley, with Matt Carraro likely to partner him at inside centre.