OPENSIDE flanker Andy Hazell will return to the Gloucester side for their Guinness Premiership trip to Newcastle Falcons on Sunday (2.30pm).
Hazell's last appearance was against Leeds on December 31 when he suffered a head injury in a collision with team-mate Phil Vickery and he has not featured since because of complications to the injury.
But he has been named in the team by head coach Dean Ryan for Gloucester's trip to the Falcons in place of James Merriman, who made his Premiership debut against Leicester last weekend.
Welsh international hooker Mefin Davies and prop Terry Sigley also return to the starting XV - but there is no place for Gary Powell, who is ruled out with an ankle injury which means Sigley will start at tighthead with Patrice Collazo continuing at loosehead.
James Forrester, who began against the Tigers at number eight, is ruled out because of ligament damage in his wrist which means Jake Boer switches to eight and Peter Buxton comes in on the blindside flank.
"From experience I can say it is very easy to trot out all the excuses possible ahead of a trip to Newcastle," Ryan told www.gloucesterrugby.co.uk. "It's a tough place to play, the conditions are pretty difficult and travelling can be an issue but none of these facts can be used as excuses - it is up to us to produce a very professional job.
"When Newcastle have their front line players available, they are a real handful - a very dangerous side. They won away at London Irish last weekend and that is a highly significant victory at a very difficult venue.
"I think they have only lost once in their last 11 matches and that is the sort of record I would be delighted with. They have achieved that without a great deal of fuss or notice but it is a terrific record.
"Our task is to manage the expectation and we have to achieve the standards we set ourselves against Leicester last weekend. If we do that, we stand a good chance of winning but we have got to ensure we get everything right.
"This game is crucial to us, we have prepared in the right way and will be ready for whatever we face."
In the backs, England centre James Simpson-Daniel returns following his try-scoring effort against Italy last weekend and he will partner Rudi Keil in midfield.
Mike Tindall, central to England's victory in Rome, has been handed a rest, which means if Terry Fanolua comes off the bench he will make his 150th Premiership appearance following his debut in 1997.
Scrum-half Peter Richards, who missed the 34-16 victory over Leicester, returns to the starting line-up following a shoulder injury picked up against London Irish.
Full-back Jon Goodridge, who signed a new two-year contract this week, continues in the number 15 shirt because of the injury to Olly Morgan.
There is still a place for Simon Amor, who has been named on the bench alongside Brad Davies.
GLOUCESTER (v Newcastle Falcons, Sunday, 2,30pm): Jon Goodridge; James Bailey, James Simpson-Daniel, Rudi Kiel, Mark Foster; Ludovic Mercier, Peter Richards; Patrice Collazo, Mefin Davies, Terry Sigley, Jonathan Pendlebury, Alex Brown, Peter Buxton, Andy Hazell, Jake Boer. Reps: Rob Elloway, Nick Wood, Adam Eustace, Adam Balding, Terry Fanolua, Simon Amor, Brad Davies.
Skipper Billy Twelvetrees led Gloucester Rugby to European glory on Friday evening, scoring the crucial try on a memorable night for the Cherry and Whites. After the game, he paid tribute to his team's performance under pressure in the latter stages as they withstood a ferocious late Edinburgh fightback.
Speaking to GRTV, James Hook admitted that, after a superb opening, Gloucester really had to pass a test of character to hold off Edinburgh and lift the European Rugby Challenge Cup. He paid tribute to his team mates for all their hard work on what was a great day for the club.
Speaking to the assembled media this week, Gloucester Rugby club captain Billy Twelvetrees explains that the squad are ready for the final and that it will be an honour to lead the Cherry and Whites out in the Challenge Cup final.
Gloucester Rugby scrum half Greig Laidlaw will line up against former team mates Edinburgh Rugby on Friday evening, but the focus is firmly on his own roles as the Cherry and Whites gear up for the EPCR Challenge Cup final at The Stoop.
Speaking to the media ahead of Friday evening's European Rugby Challenge Cup Final against Edinburgh, Director of Rugby David Humphreys stressed that his improving Gloucester team will need to perform at their best to prevail against a tough Edinburgh side.
Dan Robson, a second half try scorer in the 42-40 win over Newcastle on Saturday, admitted that Gloucester had started slowly but that the second half comeback showed real character and maintains momentum going into Friday's European final.
Gareth Evans was a first half replacement for the Cherry and Whites on Saturday afternoon, but the back rower's impressive carrying kept the hosts on the front foot when they needed it most to snatch a dramatic comeback win.
After his last ditch try clinched the 42-40 Aviva Premiership victory over Newcastle at Kingsholm on Saturday, Billy Burns told GRTV that all the Gloucester team deserve credit for hanging in there against a Falcons team who really made life tough for the Cherry and Whites.
Speaking after the European Rugby Challenge Cup triumph on Friday evening, Director of Rugby David Humphreys was thrilled with how the Cherry and Whites managed the game and secured the first major European silverware for nine years.
Friday night saw the Cherry and Whites lift the European Rugby Challenge Cup following the 19-13 victory over Edinburgh Rugby. The club photographer caught the best of the action and celebrations from The Stoop.
Once again for Gloucester, it went right to the very last whistle, the 14 men in Cherry and White hanging on heroically to win the European Rugby Challenge Cup by 19 points to 13 over Edinburgh at the Stoop on Friday evening.
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