HAYDN THOMAS will be out of action for six week after fracturing his collarbone during Gloucester's European Challenge Cup victory over Bayonne last Saturday.
The Kingsholm scrum-half now faces at least six weeks on the sidelines after suffering the injury as a second half replacement during Gloucester's 32-19 win that secured a home quarter-final against Brive.
The 23-year-old is in his first season with Dean Ryan's side after agreeing a two-year contract from Exeter Chiefs last summer.
In 11 appearances in all competitions this season, Thomas has scored three tries and of the injury, head coach Ryan told www.gloucesterrugby.co.uk "It's obviously extremely disappointing for him because he had really been pushing for an opportunity.
"With the Six Nations upon us he had a real chance to press that claim but unfortunately for everyone concerned that will not happen now.
"As a club it is concerning because we are exposed at number nine with our commitments to support England."
Gloucester's other two first choice scrum-half options - Peter Richards and Simon Amor - are away with the England senior and sevens squads respectively this week.
However, it is expected that Richards will return for Saturday's Guinness Premiership clash against London Irish (3pm).
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.
Speaking to the local media on Thursday, James Hudson explained his excitement for tonight's game with Harlequins and that he is backing the Cherry and White squad to impress during the next set of Aviva Premiership games.
Despite a dream start at Kingston Park, scoring a try after just 26 seconds, Gloucester couldn't capitalise against a dogged Newcastle Falcons side. Too many penalties were conceded and too many errors made as the Falcons prevailed 20-10.
There are three changes to Gloucester Rugby's starting line-up for Friday evening's Aviva Premiership fixture away at Newcastle Falcons. Steve McColl will make his first Premiership start for the club.