EDINBURGH No 8 Bill Mata will undergo ankle ligament surgery on Thursday and is expected to be out of action for six to eight weeks as a consequence.
“He will miss the first two rounds of the PRO14 with us then the international period with Fiji,” said head coach Richard Cockerill. “Once he has surgery we’ll know more, it may be shorter, it may be longer, but roughly it will be six to eight weeks.
“It’s tough because he has been playing very well,” Cockerill added. “We know Bill is pivotal to ourselves so it’s disappointing [and] not just for us but for Fiji too. We want our guys to play for their countries because they are very proud.
“So, he will be disappointed and so will lots of rugby fans who want to see Bill playing in a full-strength Fiji team.
“But we’ve got good cover. Nick Haining and Magnus Bradbury are good No8s so we’re not short in the back-row but certainly for Edinburgh and Fiji that will be a blow.”
Cockerill also confirmed that scrum-half Henry Pyrgos will miss Saturday’s PRO14 season-opener against Ospreys as he continues his recovery from a concussion, but reckons the squad will otherwise be pretty much at full strength.