Hammer blow for England hopeful as serious injury puts Six Nations in doubt

David Skippers
Zach Mercer Gloucester Premiership 2023 - Alamy.jpg

Gloucester number eight Zach Mercer.

Gloucester director of rugby George Skivington has revealed that his club will be without the services of England number eight Zach Mercer after he had surgery on an ankle injury.

Mercer, who started his professional career at Bath, joined the Cherry and Whites at the start of the season after a two-year stint with Top 14 outfit Montpellier.

The 26-year-old played for Gloucester in three Premiership matches last month but sustained his injury in their defeat to Saracens at Kingsholm.

“He got caught in a tackle at the beginning of the Saracens game, there were like three people that fell on him at the same time – it’s one of those injuries and he’s going to be out for a few months,” Skivington told the BBC.

“We could have strapped him up and tried to put him out, but that’s not how we do it here, and I don’t think that’s the responsible thing, to bring him over here and ask him to limp on and see what happens.

Keen for Mercer to be 100% when he returns

“We’ve taken the action of getting it right and making sure that when he comes back, he’ll be 100%.”

Meanwhile, front-row Val Rapava-Ruskin is set to be sidelined for an unknown period after he was withdrawn shortly before Gloucester’s away clash with Sale Sharks last weekend.

“He’s got a bit of a random injury that we’re not 100% certain what it is, it keeps flaring up on us, and we keep having to pull him out,” said Skivington.

“We need to nail down what that is and put a plan together.”

In other news, Ruan Ackermann has not featured in any of the Cherry and Whites’ Premiership games yet due to a nerve injury which Skivington said is “not coming along as quick” as they would have liked.

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