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."
Speaking with the local media before the Gloucester team set off on the long trip north to Newcastle, Director of Rugby David Humphreys discussed his team selection and stated that Friday night's meeting will be a challenging one.
Speaking to the local media on Thursday, Matt Kvesic was looking forward to the trip to Newcastle Falcons, and the captain is looking to lead from the front with plenty for the Cherry and Whites to work on.
Gloucester saw a 12-0 lead overturned by Harlequins on Friday night as the visitors ran out 22-15 winners. After the game, Director of Rugby David Humphreys spoke about missed opportunities on the night.
Speaking to the local media on Thursday, James Hudson explained his excitement for tonight's game with Harlequins and that he is backing the Cherry and White squad to impress during the next set of Aviva Premiership games.
Despite a dream start at Kingston Park, scoring a try after just 26 seconds, Gloucester couldn't capitalise against a dogged Newcastle Falcons side. Too many penalties were conceded and too many errors made as the Falcons prevailed 20-10.
There are three changes to Gloucester Rugby's starting line-up for Friday evening's Aviva Premiership fixture away at Newcastle Falcons. Steve McColl will make his first Premiership start for the club.