Gloucester Rugby injury latest ahead of Saracens: Ollie Thorley, Val Rapava-Ruskin, Max Llewellyn

Gloucester Rugby’s first-choice loosehead prop Val Rapava-Ruskin is once again struggling with his knee despite having had surgery on it earlier this season to try and fix the problem.

Rapava-Ruskin missed the Cherry and Whites’ Challenge Cup semi-final win over the Ospreys on Friday night after his knee ‘blew up’ again and is now a doubt for Saturday’s trip to Saracens back in the Gallagher Premiership. The frontrower only returned from injury in the Premiership Rugby Cup final win over Leicester Tigers on March 15 after months in the rehab room.

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Gloucester director of rugby George Skivington said: ‘Val’s knee blew up so we made the call not to play him [against Ospreys] because we haven’t quite got the management of that right somehow. We didn’t want to risk him and took the conservative route with him and did the best thing for the player. We have got a few weeks until the Challenge Cup semi-final so I am hoping he will be alright. We will have to look at what has gone wrong in that process.”

England international winger Ollie Thorley also missed the latest Challenge Cup game after suffering a knock to his shoulder in the win against Castres in the last 16 knockout game a week earlier but looks to have recovered from it to return to the selection mix with Jake Morris lining up with Jonny May in his place last weekend.

Skivington said: “Thorlo will be okay. He got a bang and we tread carefully with that one. We potentially could have rolled him out against the Ospreys but there was a risk with that. He will be okay, but we have got some good young wingers in Josh [Hathaway] and Jake [Morris], they have done a good job in the last couple of games and there is some excitement around those. They are the type of lads I want to see a bit more of in the Premiership before the end of the season.”

The good news for the Cherry and Whites is Welsh international centre Max Llewellyn is fit despite having limped off at Kingsholm on Friday. Skivington said: “He is okay, thankfully.”

With Gloucester sitting ninth in the Gallagher Premiership with four rounds remaining, and likely to finish in that position after their defeat to Bristol Bears last time out in the league cut them adrtift from the top eight, Skivington admitted he will use the next couple of weeks to rest and rotate his squad with his eyes firmly fixtured on the Challenge Cup semi-final against Benetton at Kingsholm on May 4.

He said: “We have obviously had a different five weeks to some clubs, we had the Prem Cup final, we have had two knockout games in Europe, we have been going five or six weeks straight on the bounce so there are a few lads who need to be looked after and have put in big shifts and there are few players in the squad I would like to see in the Premiership to know what they are capable of and what they need to work on in the summer. There is quite a lot up in the air when it comes to selection to make sure I tick all the right boxes and achieve what we want to this season.”