Northampton Saints will be without hooker Steve Thompson for their Heienken Cup quarter-final against Biarritz as he will undergo surgery next week to try to repair his damaged neck.

This operation will mean Thompson will miss the remainder of this season and the World Cup at the start of next season. He has already missed the first two games of the Six Nations after being advised to take complete rest. His last game for the club was against Biarritz on January 21.

Head coach Paul Grayson said: “We are all so disappointed for Steve and we will be working hard with him to help his recovery. We look forward to his invaluable support behind the scenes while he recuperates.”