HAYDN THOMAS will be out of action for six week after fracturing his collarbone during Gloucester's European Challenge Cup victory over Bayonne last Saturday.
The Kingsholm scrum-half now faces at least six weeks on the sidelines after suffering the injury as a second half replacement during Gloucester's 32-19 win that secured a home quarter-final against Brive.
The 23-year-old is in his first season with Dean Ryan's side after agreeing a two-year contract from Exeter Chiefs last summer.
In 11 appearances in all competitions this season, Thomas has scored three tries and of the injury, head coach Ryan told www.gloucesterrugby.co.uk "It's obviously extremely disappointing for him because he had really been pushing for an opportunity.
"With the Six Nations upon us he had a real chance to press that claim but unfortunately for everyone concerned that will not happen now.
"As a club it is concerning because we are exposed at number nine with our commitments to support England."
Gloucester's other two first choice scrum-half options - Peter Richards and Simon Amor - are away with the England senior and sevens squads respectively this week.
However, it is expected that Richards will return for Saturday's Guinness Premiership clash against London Irish (3pm).
Speaking to the media following the 31-33 West Country Challenge Cup defeat to Exeter Chiefs at the Memorial Stadium, Director of Rugby David Humphreys was full of praise for his side's battling qualities in a bruising encounter but concerned about the injuries picked up.
The West Country Challenge Cup fixture against the Exeter Chiefs at the Memorial Stadium in Bristol on Saturday (kick off 3pm) will be Gloucester's last chance to work on things like new combinations says Director of Rugby, David Humphreys.
Speaking after the 30-21 West Country Challenge Cup defeat at Bath, Director of Rugby David Humphreys spoke of the improvements his team are making as preseason progresses but acknowledges that there is still work to do ahead of the start of the Aviva Premiership.
Speaking to the local media ahead of Saturday's trip to Bath Rugby in the West Country Challenge Cup, front rower Nick Wood spoke of the hard work put in across the extended preseason and highlighted the competition for front row spots in the squad.
Gloucester have named a 30 man squad for the latest round of West Country Challenge Cup action against Bath on Saturday, with Director of Rugby David Humphreys stressing the need to keep an eye on player workload ahead of what will be a long, tough season.
Describing the 50-7 West Country Challenge Cup win over Bath on Sunday as a '...good hit out...', wing Charlie Sharples admitted that it had been a good opportunity to put into practice things that the squad have been trying out in training in recent weeks.
Speaking to the local media after the 50-7 victory over Bath Rugby on Sunday, David Humphreys was happy with his squad's effort, with the most important aspect being the game time earned by his players.
Gloucester make wholesale changes to the side that started at Exeter last Saturday as they prepare to take on Bath at the Memorial Stadium, Bristol on Sunday in the West Country Challenge Cup (kick off 3pm). The Director of Rugby told GRTV that the players are raring to go and that he's looking forward to seeing different combinations in action.