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.
Speaking to GRTV after the 40-29 Aviva A League win over Wasps Rugby, Academy Coach Rich Whiffin explained his pride in the squad to overcome a strong opponent and book their spot in next week's Aviva A League final.
Willi Heinz returned from injury to skipper Gloucester to a famous 16-14 win over Stade Rochelais on Saturday evening. Speaking after the game in France, Heinz admitted the win wasn't pretty but was full of courage and a great result for the club.
Billy Burns contributed all Gloucester's points in the 16-14 European Rugby Challenge Cup win in La Rochelle on Saturday evening, but dedicated the victory to the whole squad whilst also praising the travelling support.
Speaking after Gloucester's brave 16-14 win against Stade Rochelais which clinches a European Rugby Challenge Cup final spot, Director of Rugby David Humphreys paid tribute to the way the team had executed the game plan in a hostile environment against quality opposition.
Greig Laidlaw returns to the Gloucester Rugby squad this week, and his inclusion is an important one after a serious ankle injury. The Scottish scrum half is determined to drive the team forward in their European Rugby Challenge Cup semi final in La Rochelle this Saturday.
Gloucester take on La Rochelle in the European Rugby Challenge Cup semi-final in France on Saturday evening, with the Top 14 side the favourites in the eyes of the bookmakers. However, David Humphreys is looking for his side to rise to the occasion against a familiar opponent.
Speaking to GRTV after Saturday's 39-30 Aviva Premiership win over Sale, Mark Atkinson admitted that the performance wasn't perfect but that the team's character shone through in a game that could easily have slipped away.