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.
Skipper Billy Twelvetrees led Gloucester Rugby to European glory on Friday evening, scoring the crucial try on a memorable night for the Cherry and Whites. After the game, he paid tribute to his team's performance under pressure in the latter stages as they withstood a ferocious late Edinburgh fightback.
Speaking to GRTV, James Hook admitted that, after a superb opening, Gloucester really had to pass a test of character to hold off Edinburgh and lift the European Rugby Challenge Cup. He paid tribute to his team mates for all their hard work on what was a great day for the club.
Speaking to the assembled media this week, Gloucester Rugby club captain Billy Twelvetrees explains that the squad are ready for the final and that it will be an honour to lead the Cherry and Whites out in the Challenge Cup final.
Gloucester Rugby scrum half Greig Laidlaw will line up against former team mates Edinburgh Rugby on Friday evening, but the focus is firmly on his own roles as the Cherry and Whites gear up for the EPCR Challenge Cup final at The Stoop.
Speaking to the media ahead of Friday evening's European Rugby Challenge Cup Final against Edinburgh, Director of Rugby David Humphreys stressed that his improving Gloucester team will need to perform at their best to prevail against a tough Edinburgh side.
Dan Robson, a second half try scorer in the 42-40 win over Newcastle on Saturday, admitted that Gloucester had started slowly but that the second half comeback showed real character and maintains momentum going into Friday's European final.
Gareth Evans was a first half replacement for the Cherry and Whites on Saturday afternoon, but the back rower's impressive carrying kept the hosts on the front foot when they needed it most to snatch a dramatic comeback win.
After his last ditch try clinched the 42-40 Aviva Premiership victory over Newcastle at Kingsholm on Saturday, Billy Burns told GRTV that all the Gloucester team deserve credit for hanging in there against a Falcons team who really made life tough for the Cherry and Whites.
Speaking after the European Rugby Challenge Cup triumph on Friday evening, Director of Rugby David Humphreys was thrilled with how the Cherry and Whites managed the game and secured the first major European silverware for nine years.
Friday night saw the Cherry and Whites lift the European Rugby Challenge Cup following the 19-13 victory over Edinburgh Rugby. The club photographer caught the best of the action and celebrations from The Stoop.
Once again for Gloucester, it went right to the very last whistle, the 14 men in Cherry and White hanging on heroically to win the European Rugby Challenge Cup by 19 points to 13 over Edinburgh at the Stoop on Friday evening.
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