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.
With such a short turnaround between the two games, and Gloucester looking to reintegrate several players into the line-up after the Autumn international series, Tom Savage told GRTV that the Cherry and Whites will keep changes to a minimum for the European Rugby Challenge Cup game in Zebre on Saturday.
Gloucester travel to Italy this weekend to take on Zebre in Round Four of the European Rugby Challenge Cup. The Cherry and Whites defeated the Italian side 35-10 last Sunday, but Director of Rugby David Humphreys is looking for an improved performance in the return fixture.
Skipper Billy Twelvetrees, speaking to GRTV after the 35-10 over Zebre, was happy with the bonus point win over the Italian side but admitted Gloucester will need to tighten up for the return fixture in Parma.
Matt Kvesic was a try scorer and recipient of the Man of the Match award in Sunday's 35-10 European Rugby Challenge Cup win over Zebre. He praised the Italian side for their spirited opposition and admitted that next week's return game will be a tough one.