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.
Defence Coach Jonny Bell admitted this week that the European Rugby Challenge Cup victory in Bayonne was a welcome one, stressed that Benetton Treviso will pose a tough test on Saturday at Kingsholm but that Gloucester are determined to deliver in front of their own fans.
Motu Matu'u is looking to make up for lost time this week as the Cherry and Whites head to Basque Country to take on Bayonne in the European Rugby Challenge Cup opener. The Samoan hooker made his first appearance in the jersey last weekend, and is hoping to contribute to the team this weekend.
Gloucester's attentions turn to Europe this weekend as they travel to Bayonne for their opening fixture of this season's European Rugby Challenge Cup. Forwards Coach Trevor Woodman told GRTV that the Cherry and Whites will be aiming to top their pool as they've done for the past two seasons, but is well aware of how tough it is to win in France.
Although understandably disappointed at seeing victory slip away at the last minute, Ben Morgan said after the game at Exeter that there were plenty of positives that Gloucester could take from the game.
Speaking after a last-gasp try from Exeter earned the Chiefs a 27-27 draw at Sandy Park on Saturday, Charlie Sharples admitted to mixed feelings. The game saw him score a try on his 200th competitive appearance for the club, but the frustration from not closing out the win was clear.
David Humphreys was minutes away from a winning interview on Saturday afternoon, but a late try from Exeter Chiefs meant the points were shared at Sandy Park. Humphreys spoke with the local media after the 27-27 draw.
Speaking to the media ahead of Saturday's Aviva Premiership fixture away at Exeter Chiefs, Director of Rugby David Humphreys reiterated that there are elements of Gloucester's game that are in good shape at present, that the performance against Bath was a step forward from Newcastle but that individual errors are costing the Cherry and Whites dear.
Centre Matt Scott, a try-scorer in Bayonne last weekend, insists that Gloucester are taking nothing for granted when they welcome Benetton Treviso to Kingsholm on Saturday in the European Rugby Challenge Cup (kick off 3pm).