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.
Fly-half Billy Burns was named Man of the Match after the 35-14 European Rugby Challenge Cup victory over Stade Rochelais on Thursday evening, and was full of praise for all his team mates for the win after a short turnaround.
Gloucester have been in good form in recent weeks, but Backs Coach Tim Taylor knows that the Cherry and Whites will have to be at their best on Thursday evening (kick off 7:45pm) against a Stade Rochelais side flying high this season.
Speaking to GRTV after the bonus point win over Bristol, back row Lewis Ludlow revealed that despite a tricky first half, Gloucester backed their skills to come through, a faith that was evident in a strong second half showing.
Willi Heinz scored Gloucester's second try as the Cherry and Whites overturned a disappointing first 40 minutes and 0-6 half time deficit, to earn a 26-18 Aviva Premiership victory over Bristol Rugby on Saturday.
Gloucester's much changed side had to overcome conceding an early try on Thursday evening, but responded in style to down Stade Rochelais by 35 points to 14 in the European Rugby Challenge Cup and set up a mouthwatering return fixture next weekend.
After taking 11 points from their last three games in the Aviva Premiership, including bonus point wins against Wasps and Bristol, Gloucester will be looking to continue their good form when they welcome La Rochelle to Kingsholm.