Gloucester Rugby: Dan Murphy could be fit for Exeter Chiefs game
DAN Murphy could be fit to solve Gloucester's front-row crisis this weekend, hopes boss Nigel Davies.
The loosehead prop suffered a nasty-looking knee injury after just four minutes of Sunday's 22-16 victory at Newcastle Falcons.
Former London Irish prop Murphy underwent a scan on his troublesome injury yesterday, and Gloucester rugby director Davies confirmed there is no significant damage.
Davies admits Murphy's fitness battle is by no means 'cut-and-dried', expecting a crucial two days for the 27-year-old to prove his availability for Sunday's Exeter Chiefs clash.
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The Cherry and Whites host Exeter at Kingsholm (2pm) seeking a third-straight Premiership win against Rob Baxter's potent Devonians.
Davies has also ruled out a 'rushed' injury dispensation signing in the front-row this week. So even if Murphy fails his fitness battle, Gloucester will not scramble to bring in a new face.
Nick Wood has six weeks of his eight-week ban for his red card at Saracens left to run, while academy loosehead James Gibbons is fighting to beat knee trouble before Sunday too.
And now hooker Koree Britton has also been slapped with a four-week ban.
Britton deputised at loosehead in Monday night's 38-16 A League defeat at Leicester Tigers, to help solve Gloucester's prop troubles.
But the 21-year-old was sent off along with ex-Gloucester fly-half Ryan Lamb for fighting.
Britton contested the RFU charge and was slapped with the month ban after a hearing on Tuesday night.
The Torquay-born front-rower will be available for Gloucester's November 2 Wasps clash at Kingsholm.
Out-half Lamb pleaded guilty and was banned for one week – but suffered a broken hand in Monday's fracas and could be out injured for a month or more.
Leicester boss Richard Cockerill slammed Lamb as 'in the dog house', saying: "He didn't have it when he went on the field – but he did have it when he came off for fighting!
"I don't know the exact details."
Gloucester chief Davies hopes 20-year-old loosehead Gibbons can find fitness in time for Sunday's Exeter clash.
At this point Yann Thomas is Gloucester's only fit, recognised and available loosehead, but Davies expects that to change before the weekend.
But if neither Murphy nor Gibbons beat their ailments, Davies said he will ask one of his trio of tightheads – Rupert Harden, Shaun Knight and Tom Heard – to switch across the front-row.
Davies explained: "It's not cut-and-dried by any stretch of the imagination, but Dan's scan didn't reveal anything major.
"So the next 48 hours will be crucial, but we're hopeful he could be right for the weekend.
"James Gibbons is also making good progress with his knee injury, and he might be available too.
"It's too rushed this week for a signing like that.
"That is the kind of enterprise that needs more time, because with any signing you need to go through your due diligence on the player.
"So this weekend we will look to fill those berths with our existing resources.
"If there are lingering issues with Dan and Gibbo, then we would probably look to move one of our tightheads across.
"Tom Heard could cover loosehead, but then we may ask one of the more experienced guys to do that, and have Tom available at tighthead in his natural position.
"So we've got some options available to us this week, and that's important."