Phil Vickery will have a back operation on Saturday
PHIL VICKERY will undergo surgery on Saturday to relieve pressure on a nerve root caused by a disc protrusion.
The Gloucester and England tighthead prop will have his third back operation in Bristol under the guidance of consultant neurosurgeon Dr Richard Nelson and faces three months rehabilitation from the surgery.
Gloucester's head coach Dean Ryan told www.gloucesterrugby.co.uk "In view of the fact that he has had previous surgery in this area his recovery and rehabilitation will be carefully monitored by his specialist and the Gloucester and England medical teams.
"He faces three months rehabilitation from the operation and there is obviously a great likelihood it will disrupt the rest of his season. But we remain very positive that his outlook is bright.
"Naturally, we are very disappointed to lose Phil because he had been playing back at his best and is a world class performer. Everyone at Gloucester wishes him well for the surgery and for his recovery period."
Vickery damaged his back during Gloucester's Guinness Premiership victory over Saracens earlier this month and will now miss the entire Six Nations with England.
England Head coach Andy Robinson said: "Our best wishes will be with Phil on Saturday. It shows what a fighter he is that he has twice come back from surgery and we are hoping that this operation is also successful. He is an outstanding member of the England squad and will be sorely missed by us and Gloucester."
Vickery has won 47 England caps and has undergone back operations before in February 2003 and May 2004 as well as a shoulder operation in the summer of 2000.
This season, he made his return to Gloucester in a pre-season game against Calvisano following a broken arm and has made 13 appearances in all competitions. Last season he also suffered a blow-out fracture of his eye socket in a Premiership game against Wasps.
Gloucester-Hartpury Women take on West Park Leeds Ladies in the final of the Intermediate Cup Final on Saturday. Head Coach Susie Appleby took time out to preview the game and chat about the future for the team.
Number eight Ben Morgan admitted that the 32-14 Aviva Premiership win over Bristol on Friday evening hadn't been pretty at times, but that the win was based on everyone in the squad remaining united and working for each other.
Previewing Friday evening's local derby at Bristol, Interim Head Coach Jonny Bell told the local media that Gloucester's preparations have gone well and that the whole squad is united in trying to finish the season on a high.
Speaking to GRTV this week, Acting Head Coach Jonny Bell spoke of his pleasure in the efforts and intensity in training from the squad after a tricky few weeks. The team were preparing for big games with Bristol and Cardiff in coming weeks.
Willi Heinz was understandably and visibly disappointed when he spoke to GRTV after the 27-30 home defeat to Harlequins, apologising to the home support as the game slipped away after seemingly having the game under control.
Speaking to the local media this week, Scottish centre Matt Scott spoke of the squad's determination to put in a big home performance against Harlequins, with vital points up for grabs in the hunt for a Top Six spot this Saturday (KO 3pm)
In the aftermath of the Aviva Premiership victory over Bristol, Interim Head Coach Jonny Bell was able to look forward to this weekend's European Rugby Challenge Cup quarter-final against Cardiff Blues (Kingsholm, kick off 8:05pm).