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.
Following the 48-10 Aviva Premiership win over London Welsh on Saturday, Dan Murphy praised his team mates for battling right up to the very last minute in difficult conditions and maintaining the momentum that the team have built in 2015.
Henry Purdy scored two memorable tries against London Welsh at Kingsholm on Saturday, and attributed the first one to hard work on the training ground before describing how much he's enjoying playing his rugby alongside friends like Callum Braley.
Gloucester face London Welsh for the third time this season when they meet at Kingsholm in the Aviva Premiership on Saturday (kick off 3pm), but Director of Rugby David Humphreys insists his team are prepared for a tough game against the Exiles.
Billy Burns was a late call up to the Gloucester team that lost narrowly to the Leicester Tigers at Welford Road on Friday evening and, speaking to GRTV post match, was full of praise for his team-mates but admitted that defeat was tough to take.
Speaking after what he described as an 'arm wrestle' up front, skipper Tom Savage couldn't fault his side's effort and commitment on the night at Welford Road but insisted that his side will keep on battling, starting at home to London Welsh next weekend.
A number of the Gloucester Rugby squad this week benefitted from an initiative organised by Circle 2 Success (C2S) and the Rugby Players Association (RPA) to help players develop their business planning skills.