Gloucester Rugby are facing a late call on their entire starting frontrow from last week’s defeat as they head to The Twickenham Stoop on Saturday to take on third place Harlequins.
The Cherry and Whites were beaten 14-20 at home to Leicester Tigers in Round 13 of the Gallagher Premiership in a contest which bruised not just the ego but plenty of bodies.
Tighthead prop Jack Stanley and loosehead prop Alex Seville both left the field having failed HIA tests while hooker Santiago Socino departed in the 33rd minute for Henry Walker after injuring his shoulder.
Gloucester head coach George Skivington said: “We are working through a fair few head knocks, the game wasn’t kind to us last Saturday.
“Those return to play processes take five to six days to be allowed so we have got a couple of contingencies in place and we are just working through those.
“There will be a couple of late calls.
With Harlequins likely to start with an all international frontrow of Joe Marler (England), Scott Baldwin (Wales) and Wilco Louw (South Africa), it will be one of many significant battle ground areas with the Gloucester defence not wanting to give number eight Alex Dombrandt and sparky scrum half Danny Care an advancing scrum to attack from.
Skvington continued: “Socino was a shoulder bang and the other two were HIAs.
“They are all actually okay, that is the good news, they have all come in and presented well.
“We are just making sure Santi [Spcino] is all good and that takes a few days of investigations from the physios to make sure he is okay but he presented well on Monday which is good because obviously he had to come off quite early.
“The props just have to go through the protocols and make sure we tick all the boxes.”
Skivington is short of options in the frontrow heading to Harlequins with first choice hooker Jack Singleton also still injured.
The good news is first choice loosehead Val Rapava-Ruskin has served his three game suspension for his forearm charge against Bath and will be back in the selection mix.
In the three quarters resources are also beginning to look stretched with Jonny May and Louis Rees-Zammit away with England and Wales respectively for the final round of the Six Nations, and Ollie Thorley suspended for his head clash against Wasps.
Add to that injuries to full back Kyle Moyle, who dropped out of Gloucester’s starting XV on Saturday late in the day, and Jason Woodward who “picked up another niggle in his rehab process.”
Skivington explained: “Kyle just had an issue with his calf, he is another one that obviously we are on-going with and we won’t push Kyle if he is not right.
“It was a late change which is unfortunate but I thought Jacob [Morris] did a great job when he came in.
“I thought he really stepped up and brought some real physicality and again it is another young academy lad we have got on the field and he has got a taste of first team rugby and like I say I thought he did a great job.
“I thought he was composed considering he came in late and showed a lot of class actually.”
Saturday’s defeat was Morris’s first start in the Gallagher Premiership, however a man with hundreds of games under his belt and set to retire at the end of the season, Matt Banahan, spent the whole game unused on the bench.
Skivington explained his reasoning. He said: “Banners can cover so many positions for us so it felt like it was the right thing to leave him on the bench and have cover across the backline.
“He was obviously frustrated in the end because he was covering so much it is hard for a coach to say what should we change.
“We thought it was the right thing to do.”
Centre Chris Harris and scrum half Stephen Varney will also be on international duty this weekend with Scotland and Italy respectively with the two sides facing each other at Murrayfield on Saturday
Skivington added: “There is no one else coming back from the injury, some I would like to see but there is no exciting news.”
However the good news is fly-half Lloyd Evans, who has been sidelined following surgery on his ankle, is progressing ahead of schedule.
Skivington said: “Lloyd is still a few weeks away but he is coming along really well actually.
“He has been extremely diligent with his rehab and he has been working extremely hard so fair play to him. I think he has got himself a week or two ahead of schedule.
“I wouldn’t want to put a date on it but the reports on him at the back end of last week were he has made a really good shift.”
Inquiries were also made into former England number eight Ben Morgan’s status having not been put on the club’s official injury list, but also not named in a matchday squad since February 12 when he made his return from a year out injured with a cameo appearance off the bench against Bristol Bears.
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Reading between the lines it sounds like the 32-year-old 31-cap former England star is not up to full match speed yet after so long out.
Skivington said: “Morgs isn’t a million miles away from playing for us. He knows what he has got to do to get in the team. He has put some good work in now and we are all excited to see Ben Morgan back on the pitch at some point.
It is something I have been looking forward to since I got here and I know everyone else is as well and it will happen sooner rather than later.”