GLOUCESTER Rugby can confirm, following consultation with an independent knee specialist yesterday, that James Forrester will have surgery on torn left knee cartilage tonight.
Forrester has been examined by both Gloucester Rugby's and England's medical teams and is expected to be out of action for up to six weeks after picking up the injury during Gloucester's 37-20 Heineken Cup defeat to Leinster.
"James has been one of our stand-out performers so far this season and is capable of becoming an international-quality forward," said his club coach Dean Ryan. "This injury is obviously devastating news for him, Gloucester and England.
"But everyone will offer him all the support he needs to make a full recovery - he is a very determined individual and we obviously hope to see him back in action as soon as possible."
England Head Coach Andy Robinson OBE said: "We wish James a speedy and complete recovery. It is a blow for Gloucester and England because he was very much in contention for this series but the important thing for him now is that he gets the best treatment and rehabilitation."
Forrester, the Guinness Premiership player of the month for September, has made six appearances in all competitions and has scored four tries.
Henry Purdy, a first half replacement for Charlie Sharples, was amongst the try scorers in the 64-19 victory over Aviron Bayonnais on Saturday evening and told GRTV that it was a professional performance, one the team are happy with.
Gloucester's win in Treviso last week means that they need a bonus point win against Bayonne on Saturday evening to secure a home quarter-final (kick off 8pm), but Tim Taylor wants the team to focus on the performance first and foremost.
Billy Burns and Man of the Match Richard Hibbard spoke to GRTV after the 41-0 win in Treviso, on a day when preparations weren't ideal. They felt the team's attitude was key and also praised the travelling support.
Following the conclusion of the Stade Francais vs Harlequins game today, round six is complete and the quarter-finalists in the European Rugby Challenge Cup are now known with Gloucester set to welcome the Cardiff Blues to Kingsholm.
Knowing a bonus point win would secure a home quarter-final, Gloucester completed their European mission in some style on Saturday evening, sweeping aside a spirited but outgunned Aviron Bayonnais scoring 10 tries on their way to a 64-19 victory.