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.
Northampton away was the first Gloucester game under David Humphreys last season, but the Director of Rugby told the local media that the Cherry and Whites are a different proposition compared to 12 months ago and are looking forward to the challenge.
Having skippered Gloucester against the Barbarians last week, Nick Wood once again wore the captain's armband on Monday evening as Gloucester United kicked off their Aviva Premiership A League campaign with a bonus point win at Leicester.
Gloucester recorded a 32-20 win over La Rochelle on Thursday evening, and second row Jeremy Thrush was thrilled to pick up the victory on his first taste of a trip to France and the hostile atmosphere.
Gloucester were forced to battle for their 33-20 victory in La Rochelle on Thursday evening, something that centre Bill Meakes said that he and the squad were well prepared for as well as thanking the travelling support for the part they played.
Gloucester got off to a winning start in the European Rugby Challenge Cup last weekend, but Head Coach Laurie Fisher is expecting a much tougher challenge when the Cherry and Whites travel to La Rochelle for Thursday night's Round Two encounter.
Dan Thomas was a try scorer in the 14-62 defeat at the hands of the Barbarians on Tuesday evening, but told GRTV after the game that he'd really enjoyed taking on the Barbarians and locking horns with Ardie Savea at the breakdown.
After a long, hard battle to return to fitness, Henry Trinder made his long awaited comeback in the second half of the 23-10 win over Zebre on Saturday and admitted he was taken aback by the reception he got from the Kingsholm crowd.
After missing out on Gloucester's two recent European fixtures, Jonny May is back on the left wing for Friday evening's Aviva Premiership fixture at Northampton, while Mariano Galarza is named in the matchday squad for the first time this season.