Luke Narraway has given England an injury scare as the countdown continues to next month's autumn Tests.
The Gloucester number eight was one of England’s few success stories during their ill-fated tour to New Zealand earlier this year.
And he is expected to start in Martin Johnson’s first game as manager when the Pacific Islands arrive at Twickenham on November 8.
But Narraway was among three Gloucester players who limped off during a 37-24 Heineken Cup defeat against Cardiff Blues at the Millennium Stadium yesterday.
Narraway, who suffered a hamstring problem, followed fly-half Ryan Lamb (hip) and full-back Olly Morgan (hamstring) as Gloucester were left counting a hefty cost.
Head coach Dean Ryan said: “The injuries were very disruptive, especially losing Ryan and Olly when we did.
“I am disappointed we didn’t win the game. I thought we had a lot of control, and I thought we looked very threatening.
“We are two games into the tournament, and Cardiff have still got to come to Kingsholm and play Biarritz back-to-back in December.”
Blues’ 19-year-old wing Leigh Halfpenny scored two tries, while wing Gareth Thomas and fly-half Nicky Robinson also touched down, but full-back Ben Blair’s goalkicking - 17 points from seven shots - ultimately made the difference.
Morgan and wing Iain Balshaw (two) claimed Gloucester’s tries, but Blues’ record Heineken Cup crowd of 27,000 was not to be denied a home win - Cardiff’s second successive Pool Six bonus-point triumph.
Blues head coach David Young said: “We are pleased to be where we are, but I know there are some hard games to come. We have given ourselves a good start - but that’s all it is.”