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.
Gloucester meet the Exeter Chiefs for the fourth time in competitive action this weekend, this time in the semi-final of the European Rugby Challenge Cup. Director of Rugby David Humphreys told the local media this week that this is the sort of game that Gloucester want to be involved in on a regular basis and that he and his team are looking forward to it.
Following the 29-26 loss to Harlequins, club captain Billy Twelvetrees spoke of his disappointment that the Cherry and Whites were unable to cash in on the home side's indiscipline and lose a lead on Saturday afternoon.
Number eight Gareth Evans admitted to a collective feeling of frustration as Gloucester lost narrowly at Harlequins on Saturday, but insisted that there are plenty of positives to draw upon ahead of next Saturday's European Rugby Challenge Cup semi-final at home to Exeter.
Gloucester travel to the Stoop on Saturday afternoon to take on Harlequins in the Aviva Premiership. The Cherry and Whites make just two changes from last weekend's win over Connacht as they seek consistency and continuity in their play as Nick Walshe told the local media this week.
Speaking to GRTV after the final whistle, Tom Palmer praised the Cherry and Whites concentration and desire to hold on to a narrow 14-7 victory. The second row topped the tackle charts with 19 as he led the home team's resistance.
Supporters who are still to purchase tickets for Saturday's European Rugby Challenge Cup semi-final at home to Exeter Chiefs at Kingsholm (kick off 7:45pm) are reminded that Early Bird prices are only valid until 6:30pm on Thursday evening.
The Gloucester Wheelchair Rugby team travelled to Fenton Manor Complex, Stoke on Trent last Saturday to take part in the final round of the GBWR Super Series of the season, knowing just one win would be enough to crown them Division 3 Champions.