GLOUCESTER'S All Black prop Greg Somerville has undergone surgery to re-attach the retina in his left eye.
The 30-year-old, capped 67 times by New Zealand, will be sidelined for more than two months after picking up the injury on his Guinness Premiership debut in Gloucester's 42-12 defeat at London Irish on Saturday.
Somerville underwent surgery at Cheltenham General Hospital yesterday and the operation was carried out by Consultant Ophthalmologist Mr Rob Johnson.
"It's unbelievably bad luck, not only for Greg but for the squad because everyone was looking forward to working with him at this crucial stage of the season," said Gloucester's head coach Dean Ryan.
"Our thoughts are with Greg because this is a nasty injury and will take some considerable recovery time. He is at a new club and desperate to make an impact for us, on and off the field as a player and a leader.
"We will obviously miss his contribution as a world class player and we wish him well for a speedy recovery."
Somerville made his Gloucester debut as a replacement against Calvisano in the Heineken Cup a fortnight ago before his first start at the Madejski Stadium.
As Gloucester prepare for their 39th game of the season, against Bordeaux-Begles at Sixways on Sunday, David Humphreys told the local media that this week has been all about getting the players mentally and physically ready after a tough game against Connacht last Sunday.
Speaking to GRTV after the 40-32 victory over Connacht on Sunday, skipper Billy Twelvetrees explained that Gloucester had had to learn to be patient and cut out the errors to earn the win and progress to next weekend's final play-off against Bordeaux-Begles.
Jonny May's superb late score capped a thrilling 40-32 European play-off win over Connacht on Sunday. The winger spoke afterwards of his team's character and spirit as he looked ahead to one more week of rugby.
Speaking to GRTV this afternoon, Director of Rugby David Humphreys hailed the 'never say die' attitude of the team, after despite not being at their best, fighting back to take a 40-32 win after extra time over Connacht.
Jonny May continues on the wing on Sunday as Connacht come to town, and the England wing explains to the local media this week that he is delighted with his form and is looking forward to taking on Pat Lam's men.
Premiership Rugby have this morning confirmed the order of fixtures for the 2015/16 season, and Gloucester Rugby will start their campaign at Kingston Park, taking on Newcastle Falcons on Friday 16 October, 19:45.