GLOUCESTER have been dealt two major blows ahead of tonight's Guinness Premiership match against Bath at the Rec.
Both wingers - James Simpson-Daniel and Lesley Vainikolo - have been ruled out of the match and are replaced by James Bailey and Leon Lloyd.
Although he has trained this week, Simpson-Daniel has been struck down with a serious case of the flu. Vainikolo, who is the Premiership's leading scorer with seven, is flying home to New Zealand immediately to deal with a serious family problem.
"James reported this morning that he was really not very well at all and last night we were informed of a serious family problem in New Zealand that Lesley needed to attend urgently," said head coach Dean Ryan.
"Naturally, our thoughts are with him, we will give him as much time as he needs and support him on his return. Until that happens, we will be making no further comment."
Bailey has started three Premiership matches this season - against Leicester, Sale and London Irish.
Lloyd has scored five tries this season and has made eight appearances in all competitions. His place on the bench is now taken by Mark Foster, who has appeared in three EDF Energy Cup matches this season.
Gloucester have been in good form in recent weeks, but Backs Coach Tim Taylor knows that the Cherry and Whites will have to be at their best on Thursday evening (kick off 7:45pm) against a Stade Rochelais side flying high this season.
Speaking to GRTV after the bonus point win over Bristol, back row Lewis Ludlow revealed that despite a tricky first half, Gloucester backed their skills to come through, a faith that was evident in a strong second half showing.
Willi Heinz scored Gloucester's second try as the Cherry and Whites overturned a disappointing first 40 minutes and 0-6 half time deficit, to earn a 26-18 Aviva Premiership victory over Bristol Rugby on Saturday.
It's the first Gloucester-Bristol derby at Kingsholm in over eight years this Saturday (kick off 4:30pm) and, previewing the game with the local media this week, Defence Coach Jonny Bell stressed that, with both teams in the bottom half of the table, they both need the points.
Speaking to the local media this week, Gloucester front rower John Afoa knows the challenge ahead this week against Bristol, and calls on the Cherry and Whites to make the most of home advantage as a determined squad look to bounce back from a narrow loss to Saracens.
Tom Savage speaks to GRTV and the local media as Gloucester went down by 24-20 at Saracens on Sunday afternoon. The second row was disappointed with the result, despite a strong showing from the hosts.
After taking 11 points from their last three games in the Aviva Premiership, including bonus point wins against Wasps and Bristol, Gloucester will be looking to continue their good form when they welcome La Rochelle to Kingsholm.
Having named an unchanged starting XV for the past three Aviva Premiership games, Gloucester Rugby ring the changes and retain only five players for Thursday's visit of Stade Rochelais in the European Rugby Challenge Cup (kick off 7:45pm).