OLLY MORGAN faces three months rehabilitation following surgery yesterday (Sunday) on a fractured mandible (jaw bone).
The Gloucester full-back was injured minutes into the second half of his side's 32-37 defeat to London Wasps on Saturday but refused to leave the field despite the obvious pain he was feeling.
He was operated on at Gloucestershire Royal Hospital on Sunday and will now miss potential involvement in the Under-21 World Cup with England or possible tours with the England senior squads this summer.
Head coach Dean Ryan told www.gloucesterrugby.co.uk "It was very brave of him to play on when he was obviously in pretty serious discomfort.
"I think it epitomises the spirit we have within this group of players - Olly was in there right to the end fighting for the cause. That is a hugely impressive characteristic in a young player.
"He has been outstanding for us this season and now we naturally wish him all the very best in his recovery."
Morgan, who has made 12 Premiership appearances this season and scored against Leicester in November, is expected to be fit to resume pre-season training in July.
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.
Matt Kvesic was a try scorer and recipient of the Man of the Match award in Sunday's 35-10 European Rugby Challenge Cup win over Zebre. He praised the Italian side for their spirited opposition and admitted that next week's return game will be a tough one.