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
Previewing Friday evening's local derby at Bristol, Interim Head Coach Jonny Bell told the local media that Gloucester's preparations have gone well and that the whole squad is united in trying to finish the season on a high.
Speaking to GRTV this week, Acting Head Coach Jonny Bell spoke of his pleasure in the efforts and intensity in training from the squad after a tricky few weeks. The team were preparing for big games with Bristol and Cardiff in coming weeks.
Willi Heinz was understandably and visibly disappointed when he spoke to GRTV after the 27-30 home defeat to Harlequins, apologising to the home support as the game slipped away after seemingly having the game under control.
Speaking to the local media this week, Scottish centre Matt Scott spoke of the squad's determination to put in a big home performance against Harlequins, with vital points up for grabs in the hunt for a Top Six spot this Saturday (KO 3pm)
Looking ahead to Saturday's Aviva Premiership fixture at home to Harlequins (kick off 3pm), Head Coach Laurie Fisher told the local media that Gloucester will need to be on top of their game in a match which has big implications in terms of top six ambitions.
A big few days for the Gloucester-Hartpury Women side. First came the news that the team will compete in Women's Super Rugby next season, and on Saturday the team will play Worcester Ladies IIs at Kingsholm. Centre Hannah Jones and wing Michelle Ruddock spoke to GRTV this week to reflect on events.
Missing so many starters, and up against a team fighting for their Premiership existence, Gloucester did what had to be done at Ashton Gate on Friday evening battling their way to a 32-14 Aviva Premiership win over Bristol Rugby.