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.
Named Man of the Match by BT Sport, scrum-half Willi Heinz said after the 15-11 win at Bath on Friday evening that it was a pretty happy Gloucester dressing room and reward for a lot of hard work put in during the week leading up to the game.
Speaking after the 15-11 win over Bath at the Rec on Friday evening, David Humphreys heaped praise on his players, pointing out how they had bounced back after last week's tough defeat to overcome a rough start before controlling the game and earning the win.
Gloucester Rugby hooker Richard Hibbard spoke to the local media this week as the Cherry and Whites prepare to face Bath Rugby in the Aviva Premiership. The Welshman is ready to bounce back at The Rec.
Speaking to the local media about the local derby against Bath at the Rec on Friday evening, Director of Rugby David Humphreys acknowledged that it will be a tough encounter but hugely exciting at the same time and one the squad are looking forward to.
A visibly disappointed Billy Twelvetrees admitted that it was a very sombre Gloucester dressing room as a last minute try and conversion condemned the Cherry and Whites to an 18-19 defeat against Leicester Tigers on Saturday.
A disappointed Tom Savage told GRTV, after the 18-19 defeat at home to the Leicester Tigers, that the whole Gloucester team had put in a fantastic effort, but just couldn't find the extra one or two percent necessary to put away a top side.
Speaking after the narrow loss to Leicester Tigers on Saturday afternoon, David Humphreys says despite there being a lot of good in Gloucester's performance, he rued the failure to close the game out, as well as thanking the home support
Kiwi second row Jeremy Thrush is thoroughly enjoying his time in Cherry and White so far, and this weekend the Leicester Tigers are the visitors to Kingsholm, and the All Black is massively excited about the challenge.
After two wins in the European Rugby Challenge Cup, securing a home quarter-final, David Humphreys told the local media this week that Gloucester are coming into Saturday's game in good physical shape having rotated the squad. However, he and the squad are prepared for a tough encounter against the Tigers.
The Early Bird deadline for ticket purchases for the Aviva Premiership fixture against Harlequins on Saturday will expire at 6:30pm on Thursday evening, with tickets already limited for one area of Kingsholm.