JAMES FORRESTER will miss Gloucester's Guinness Premiership game against Leeds because of a rib injury.
The Gloucester and England number eight has been ruled out for at least a couple of weeks after suffering a recurrence of the complaint during his side's 32-25 defeat at Wasps on Boxing Day.
Forrester initially damaged his ribs against Toulon in the European Challenge Cup the previous week and his head coach Dean Ryan told www.gloucesterrugby.co.uk "James will be sidelined for a number of weeks.
"It is obviously a significant blow to us because he is a key member of our squad. But his absence will provide an opportunity for somebody else to come in and perform for us at this important stage of the season."
Forrester has been an ever-present member of the Gloucester squad this season and has made eight Premiership appearances and has scored three tries.
It is likely that Peter Buxton, who was rested for the clash against Wasps, will return to the squad for Saturday's visit against Leeds.
Forrester said: "I hurt my rib cartilage last week against Toulon and I thought it had improved quite dramatically. I passed a fitness test for the Wasps game but it was pretty sore until I injured it again in the 60th minute.
"I can tell you it was a very painful experience and it made breathing quite difficult. It is obviously very frustrating and at the moment there is very little I can do about it.
"I will continue to rest it and ice it this week and let the healing process take its course. I will then see how it reacts but missing any rugby is hard to take."
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Gloucester Rugby may have already clinched their Heineken Cup spot for 2013-14, but Director of Rugby Nigel Davies stressed this week that it's important for Gloucester to finish their season on a positive note at Exeter on Saturday.