Gloucester’s England inside-centre Olly Barkley is to have an operation on his broken left wrist this week and is expected to be out of action for up to eight more weeks.
Barkley, who has yet to play a game for Gloucester after his summer move from Bath, suffered the injury in the second Test of England’s troubled tour to New Zealand.
The 26-year-old, who came on as a first-half replacement in that match, was named in new England team manager Martin Johnson’s 32-strong Elite Player Squad.
Gloucester coach Dean Ryan is still hoping Barkley will recover from surgery in time to begin next season with his new club.
“Olly requires this surgery now to give him the best possible chance of being fit for the start of the 2008-09 Guinness Premiership season,” Ryan explained.
“He is a tremendous talent and a great asset for the club, so we need to get the injury cleared up as soon as possible.”