Gloucester boss George Skivington does not expect injured Wales star Louis Rees-Zammit to play for the club again before this season’s Guinness Six Nations Championship kicks off.
The 21-year-old wing is facing a race against time to be fit for Wales’ Six Nations opener – and first game with Warren Gatland back in charge – against Ireland on February 4.
He suffered an ankle injury during Gloucester’s Gallagher Premiership defeat at Leicester on Christmas Eve.
And Rees-Zammit is now set to miss domestic and European fixtures against Saracens, Leinster, Bordeaux-Begles and Exeter this month.
“He is walking around at the moment, which is good news, but (he) is definitely not going to be back any time soon,” Skivington said.
“I have not got an exact date of return because it is going to be around that Six Nations period.
“From my point of view, I plan for him not to be here for a few weeks.
“I am not sure exactly what week of the Six Nations it is that he will or won’t get ready for, but he will not be playing for us in the next couple of weeks anyway.
“He has been scanned. The medics are on top of it. I just know he is not going to be here for the Six Nations, and therefore it’s up to Wales to work out whether he is going to play for them.”
Rees-Zammit, who has won 22 caps, would be a major attacking weapon for Gatland.
His try-scoring prowess and game-breaking ability has been showcased during an international career that also saw him gain British and Irish Lions selection for the 2021 South Africa tour.
Skivington added: “I am being absolutely honest from my point of view. I know he is not available for me until that Six Nations period, and I am moving on.
“I am hoping he will be available for some point of the Six Nations and beyond that. I have so many things going on with other injuries and people, and I leave it to others.
“Hopefully he will be ready for the start of the Six Nations, but there is no date been given to me.
“Whether it is because it is one of those injuries where it could kick on quicker – he is a young healthy bloke, and hopefully he recovers as quick as anybody – or whether it’s a debate (about) should he play this game or not. I am genuinely not sure about it.”
After Ireland, Wales face Scotland in Edinburgh seven days later before hosting England on February 25.