Marco Bortolami has suffered a fractured a left eye socket
GLOUCESTER Rugby can confirm that Marco Bortolami, their captain and Italian second row, has suffered a double fracture to his left eye socket.
He will be evaluated in Milan later today to assess whether he requires surgery but he is likely to face between four to six weeks on the sidelines, although will miss only one Gloucester match due to his call-up to the Italian squad for the Six Nations campaign.
Gloucester's head coach Dean Ryan said: "At this stage of a very demanding season you pick up injuries but this is a significant blow alongside the injury we have already suffered to Alex Brown.
"We will monitor the situation and at this stage we have not decided whether we need to look for a short-term replacement but it is an option we will consider when we know the full extent of Marco's injury."
Bortolami has made 13 appearances in all competitions this season for Gloucester.
With such a short turnaround between the two games, and Gloucester looking to reintegrate several players into the line-up after the Autumn international series, Tom Savage told GRTV that the Cherry and Whites will keep changes to a minimum for the European Rugby Challenge Cup game in Zebre on Saturday.
Gloucester travel to Italy this weekend to take on Zebre in Round Four of the European Rugby Challenge Cup. The Cherry and Whites defeated the Italian side 35-10 last Sunday, but Director of Rugby David Humphreys is looking for an improved performance in the return fixture.
Skipper Billy Twelvetrees, speaking to GRTV after the 35-10 over Zebre, was happy with the bonus point win over the Italian side but admitted Gloucester will need to tighten up for the return fixture in Parma.
Gloucester Rugby welcome Sione Kalamafoni, Greig Laidlaw and Tom Palmer back to the starting line up and feature David Halaifonua in a matchday squad for the first time, as they resume Aviva Premiership action against Bath Rugby at Kingsholm on Saturday (kick off 5:30pm).