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
Matt Kvesic, skipper for the night at Newcastle, praised the young and reshuffled Gloucester side for their commitment at Kingston Park but regretted the fact that Gloucester couldn't capitalise on an ideal opening to the game.
Speaking with the local media before the Gloucester team set off on the long trip north to Newcastle, Director of Rugby David Humphreys discussed his team selection and stated that Friday night's meeting will be a challenging one.
Speaking to the local media on Thursday, Matt Kvesic was looking forward to the trip to Newcastle Falcons, and the captain is looking to lead from the front with plenty for the Cherry and Whites to work on.
Gloucester saw a 12-0 lead overturned by Harlequins on Friday night as the visitors ran out 22-15 winners. After the game, Director of Rugby David Humphreys spoke about missed opportunities on the night.
Elton John and his band will visit the home of Gloucester Rugby, Kingsholm Stadium on Sunday 7 June as part of their European tour. This will be Elton's first ever performance in Gloucester and tickets are on general sale from 9am on Friday.
Mitcheldean finance specialist Simplicity is proud to become the latest sponsor of Gloucester Rugby. Keen-eyed supporters will notice Simplicity's PayrollSimply logo on Gloucester's ball boy bibs, stadium billboards and programme adverts.