ALEX BROWN, Gloucester's England second row, will make his first appearance since September 9 tomorrow when he returns to the side against London Irish.
The 27-year-old red rose lock fractured the radius in his right forearm during Gloucester's second Guinness Premiership victory of the season against Harlequins but has recovered in only nine weeks.
Brown's return is timely because Gloucester will be without skipper Marco Bortolami, who is away on international duty with Italy and he is joined by prop Carlos Nieto.
"Really, it's an amazing turn-around," Brown said of his recovery. "It is always very frustrating when you are injured but after about two weeks I was able to do almost everything the other players were doing and that was encouraging.
"It's great to be back and for in a very important game. We have struggled against London Irish in the past. They have a fantastic line-out and are very competitive - it should be a great contest.
"But we have been playing well and will look forward to the challenge."
There are significant changes to the Gloucester pack following their 21-12 victory over Saracens last Saturday. The front row changes totally and there are recalls for Patrice Collazo at loosehead, Olivier Azam at hooker and Christian Califano on the tighthead side of the scrum.
Brown will be partnered by Adam Eustace in the second row, while Peter Buxton will skipper the side at number six, Jake Boer returns in the openside position and Luke Narraway reverts to number eight.
The backline remains the same which means Rory Lawson and Ryan Lamb will form the half-back combination, Rudi Keil, who scored twice against Sarries, is partnered by Jack Adams in the centre and James Simpson-Daniel, James Bailey and Willie Walker complete the back three.
On the bench there are returns for Mike Tindall (calf) and Olly Morgan (shoulder). The line-up is completed by hooker Mefin Davies, prop Jack Forster, Jonathan Pendlebury, Adam Balding and Haydn Thomas.
"Last week I thought we controlled the game in exactly the manner we want to for 30 minutes but then allowed Saracens to come back into it and that is where the frustration comes from," head coach Dean Ryan said.
"We are learning to understand how to manipulate the control of matches - but I could do without that nervous last 20 or 30 minutes. On Saturday we had a real opportunity to throw a significant performance together against a side not disrupted by international call-ups.
"What we have to do now is take that forward, learn from the positives we can take from the result and aim to improve this week."
GLOUCESTER (v London Irish, tomorrow, 8pm): Willie Walker; James Bailey, Jack Adams, Rudi Keil, James Simpson-Daniel; Ryan Lamb, Rory Lawson; Patrice Collazo, Olivier Azam, Christian Califano, Adam Eustace, Alex Brown, Peter Buxton (capt), Jake Boer, Luke Narraway. Reps: Mefin Davies, Jack Forster, Jonathan Pendlebury, Adam Balding, Haydn Thomas, Mike Tindall, Olly Morgan
Tom Marshall scored his first Gloucester try in the 31-23 win over Saracens on Friday evening and was named Man of the Match. Talking to GRTV, he praised the forwards for setting the tone on the night.
Matt Scott was on media duty this week, and the Scottish international spoke about the benefit of having a full week of training with his club mates and the determination to get back to performing well against Saracens this Friday evening.
After the disappointment of last weekend's performance at Leicester, Director of Rugby David Humphreys told GRTV that he expects a big response from Gloucester in Friday's Aviva Premiership fixture at home to Saracens (kick off 7:45pm).
Gloucester travel to Tigers this Saturday in good spirits, and fly half Billy Burns is looking forward to testing himself in one of the toughest environments in the league as the Cherry and White hunt vital points as attention returns to the Aviva Premiership
After a good run of recent results, Gloucester will travel to take on Leicester in a good frame of mind according to Director of Rugby David Humphreys, but are well aware of the challenge that lies in wait.
As part of its commitment to player welfare, The Rugby Players' Association (RPA) has today officially launched #LiftTheWeight, a new campaign that aims to help remove the stigma surrounding mental health issues and offer the necessary tools and support to enable our members to enjoy a healthy and fulfilling life, both on the field and off it.