Gloucester have had their worst fears confirmed over the extent of the knee problem suffered by Jake Polledri as the back row will undergo ACL surgery following his injury while playing for Italy in last Saturday’s Autumn Nations Cup loss to Scotland.  

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The back row forward injured his knee in Florence and the Gallagher Premiership club are to consider a short-term signing to cover for the loss of one of their most influential forwards who will now also miss the 2021 Six Nations with Italy.  

Gloucester boss George Skivington is holding a meeting with club medical staff and fellow coaches to determine the full ramifications of the Polledri injury which has come at a time when they will also be without Willi Heinz, the England scrum-half, who is still a month away from recovering from a calf injury.

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James Ryan will captain Ireland against England at Twickenham

Heinz was injured training with England and while he is going to miss the first month of the new Premiership season, the timeline for Polledri is more worrying as six months is a best-case scenario.

Skivington, who takes his team to Leicester on Saturday for their 2020/21 opener, said: “Jake had the scans in Italy and it’s not great. He is not going to be back playing in the next couple of months or anything like that.

“We are clarifying what the report says and he will have to get some kind of surgery. He won’t be making a quick return but we will get him back stronger than ever. It is very disappointing. Jake had been working really hard on areas of his game. He is a really good prospect for the club, but now it is going to be a bit further down the line. With Jake being out we will have to review and see if there is cover or it is something we have to address.

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“Willi was injured training with England and it was never going to be a super quick recovery and he has about four weeks left. It is not a black and white return to play because it is his calf. It was a fairly significant injury.”

New Gloucester captain Lewis Ludlow added: “It’s massive to lose Jake. I spoke to him on Sunday because I had a big knee injury myself. I assured him it was a long process but it can be done. We have a crazy amount of talent in our back row but he will be sorely missed.”

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