GLOUCESTER'S French hooker Olivier Azam will be out of action for up to 12 weeks following an operation on his injured left shoulder.
The Kingsholm number two will spend the next four weeks in a sling following surgery to repair labral damage before starting his rehabilitation course.
The injury is almost identical to the one he suffered last season to his right shoulder and he is likely to be out of action until the end of February.
Azam suffered the set-back in October but had appeared to be close to a potential return when he resumed contact training before Gloucester's Guinness Premiership trip to London Irish last month.
But the injury, which affects the shoulder's stability, did not settle down and required a subsequent operation. Gloucester's head coach Dean Ryan told www.gloucesterrugby.co.uk. "Everyone at the club is obviously very disappointed for Olivier, particularly after the problems he suffered last year.
"To sustained another serious injury so quickly is disappointing for him and to us because we will miss the huge contribution he makes to the team.
"All we can do now is wish him a speedy recovery so he his back with us as soon as possible."
Azam, who has made four Premiership appearances this season, has scored 12 tries in the 57 games he has played for Gloucester in two spells.
When he joins Gloucester Rugby later this summer, Matt Kvesic will do so as a full England international. The openside flanker has been named to start against Argentina on Saturday and spoke to RFU.com about the prospect.
Ben Morgan, Tom Johnson and Henry Thomas spoke to Russ Hargreaves this week as they were about to do some DIY work at Chobham RFC as part of Natwest Rugby Force. On the agenda for discussion were, of course, England's forthcoming games but also the trio's painting prowess.
With ADEY Professional Heating Solutions now unveiled as Gloucester Rugby's new main sponsor from July 2013, managing Director Kelvin Stevens spoke to the club website about the reasons for getting involved with the club.
Gloucester Rugby CEO Stephen Vaughan was delighted to introduce ADEY Professional Heating Solutions as the club's new main sponsor this week. He spoke to the club website about the exciting new partnership.
Although understandably disappointed following the 40-39 defeat at Exeter, Freddie Burns thought that both teams fully contributed to a great spectacle but that a couple of refereeing decisions were key to the outcome.
Gloucester's final game of the season ended in a narrow defeat in a pulsating encounter at the Exeter Chiefs. The Cherry and Whites went down 40-39, as Gareth Steenson's dramatic late penalty meant that the end of Director of Rugby Nigel Davies' first season in charge ended in defeat. Davies spoke to the official website in the Devon sunshine.
Dave Lewis was in a tough situation on Saturday afternoon - playing for Gloucester against the side he will join next season, Exeter Chiefs. At the final whistle though, Lewis was simply disappointed to have lost the game.
They've come close several times over the years but England U20s finally defeated the Baby Blacks on Tuesday evening to qualify for the final of the Junior World Championship where they will take on Wales.
The Gloucester Rugby Academy has established a production line of rugby talent in recent times, and Assistant Academy Manager Simon Lane is confident that the latest generation are going to step up to the mark.
Ross Moriarty and Elliott Stooke have both been named in the England U20s side to take on New Zealand in the semi-final of the IRB Junior World Championship in Vannes, France, on Tuesday June 18, kick off 1945 (GMT).
The J.P. Morgan Premiership Rugby 7s Series sweeps across the country this summer with pool matches at Gloucester Rugby, Northampton Saints and Saracens on 1,2 and 3 August, and the Final at Bath Rugby on 9 August.
British and Irish Lions Head Coach Warren Gatland has named his squad for the match in Canberra against Super 15 side ACT Brumbies, with injuries hitting the squad Gloucester Rugby's Billy Twelvetrees was drafted in to the touring party and he starts at inside-centre for Tuesday's match.