Referee Chris White, based locally in Cheltenham, was called in to inspect the pitch given that weather forecasts have temperatures dropping as low as minus 13 degree centigrade over the next few days.
Upon close inspection of the pitch, certain areas were found to be unplayable and no prospect of them being ready for Sunday's game given that there will be no rise in temperature between now and then.
With the bank holiday period looming and the need to make a timely decision, it was reluctantly decided to postpone the game.
Ken Nottage, Gloucester Rugby's Managing Director, explained today:
"We felt that it was only fair to try and make an informed decision as soon as possible as to whether the game could proceed or not."
"The protective dome that allowed the La Rochelle game to proceed is unfortunately no longer at Kingsholm and the freezing conditions have just been too much for our frost covers."
"We called in Chris White for his opinion and, unfortunately, it was bad news. It's the first time we have had to postpone a game, apart from for fog, in almost 15 years."
"It's desperately disappointing as Sunday was going to be a sell out and we were all looking forward to a terrific game of rugby."
"Our stadium staff have worked incredibly hard over the past few days in an attempt to stage two fixtures in the space of a week but the weather conditions have proved to be too much."
Tickets that have been purchased for the match will be valid for the re-arranged fixture which will be confirmed in due course. If supporters are unable to attend the re-arranged fixture they we will be able to exchange their tickets for another match of their choice.
Any supporters that wish to exchange tickets will need to do so either by presenting their Northampton tickets in person at the ticket office or sending them by post with a covering letter stating which match they would prefer.
However, with this game being played over the Christmas period we are aware of some extraordinary circumstances that mean an exchange of tickets or attending the re-arranged fixture is not possible.
In these small number of circumstances supporters are asked to write in a letter to the ticket office or email email@example.com and each case will be considered for a refund on a case by case basis.
Gloucester Rugby would like to sincerely apologise for the delay in confirming the postponement. However, the club had to follow the postponement protocols laid down by Premiership Rugby before making the postponement official.