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.
Speaking after the 15-3 Aviva Premiership defeat at Northampton, Director of Rugby David Humphreys couldn't criticise his team's effort in difficult conditions, but pinpointed the errors and indiscipline that allowed Stephen Myler to kick the home team to victory.
A handful of the Gloucester Rugby Mo-Bros visited Pride Hair Salon in Gloucester on Wednesday afternoon to have the final touches applied to their Movember efforts, and the team captain Jacob Rowan spoke to GRTV ahead of the final few days of the month.
Northampton away was the first Gloucester game under David Humphreys last season, but the Director of Rugby told the local media that the Cherry and Whites are a different proposition compared to 12 months ago and are looking forward to the challenge.
Having skippered Gloucester against the Barbarians last week, Nick Wood once again wore the captain's armband on Monday evening as Gloucester United kicked off their Aviva Premiership A League campaign with a bonus point win at Leicester.
Gloucester recorded a 32-20 win over La Rochelle on Thursday evening, and second row Jeremy Thrush was thrilled to pick up the victory on his first taste of a trip to France and the hostile atmosphere.
Gloucester were forced to battle for their 33-20 victory in La Rochelle on Thursday evening, something that centre Bill Meakes said that he and the squad were well prepared for as well as thanking the travelling support for the part they played.
Gloucester got off to a winning start in the European Rugby Challenge Cup last weekend, but Head Coach Laurie Fisher is expecting a much tougher challenge when the Cherry and Whites travel to La Rochelle for Thursday night's Round Two encounter.
After missing out on Gloucester's two recent European fixtures, Jonny May is back on the left wing for Friday evening's Aviva Premiership fixture at Northampton, while Mariano Galarza is named in the matchday squad for the first time this season.