Rugby

England’s Zach Mercer installs oxygen chamber at home to combat ankle injury

Zach Mercer has been sidelined due to injury (Adam Davy/PA)
Zach Mercer has been sidelined due to injury (Adam Davy/PA) Zach Mercer has been sidelined due to injury (Adam Davy/PA)

England international Zach Mercer has bought an oxygen chamber for his home as part of the recovery process from an ankle injury.

Mercer, who joined Gloucester from Montpellier earlier this year, has not played since late October, missing the Gallagher Premiership club’s last four games.

But the 26-year-old number eight is leaving no stone unturned, and he could be back in action sooner rather than later.

Zach Mercer
Zach Mercer Zach Mercer joined Gloucester from French Top 14 club Montpellier (Zac Goodwin/PA)

Oxygen chamber use can assist in helping damaged tissue heal, and Gloucester head coach George Skivington said: “Zach is doing everything he can. He has bought an oxygen chamber for his house.

“It is out of Zach’s own pocket and his own commitment to getting fit.

“He has definitely shown his level of commitment and professionalism over the last five weeks in how he is approaching his rehab.

“He is really motivated, he is a very smart rugby guy and he wants to be the best.

“It has not surprised me, but it is still nice to see when someone you have invested in has that level of commitment and is that hungry to get back.”

Mercer, flanker Ruan Ackermann and fly-half Adam Hastings are among the Gloucester players currently sidelined.

But Skivington says there are “positive shoots” in terms of them returning to action as Gloucester target overturning poor Premiership results.

They have lost their last five league games, dropping to ninth in the Premiership after an encouraging start produced victories over Harlequins and Newcastle.

They face west country rivals Bristol at Ashton Gate on Saturday, and Skivington added: “I would take a win however it came. It is not the start we wanted to the season.

“I think the frustration for us as a group is that every game we have done some things really well and we have just dropped off in other areas. At the back end of games we have had some poor moments.

“We are not making any excuses, we don’t come in and try to dance around it. We are very honest as a group.

“I understand my job is to take the brunt of it, and I always will. I would never hide away from anything.

George Skivington
George Skivington Gloucester boss George Skivington has seen the west country club drop to ninth in the Premiership (Bradley Collyer/PA)

“I just stay focused, keep motivating the boys, keep trying to push the team on and I am confident it will come together.

“We’ve had lots of bumps and good times as a group over the last couple of years, so we are a pretty tight unit, and in these hard times that really shines through.

“No-one puts more pressure on me than me. You live and breathe the job. The pressure doesn’t really change because it is always there, and if you don’t want that on you then don’t be a director of rugby.”