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.
Jonny May's superb late score capped a thrilling 40-32 European play-off win over Connacht on Sunday. The winger spoke afterwards of his team's character and spirit as he looked ahead to one more week of rugby.
Speaking to GRTV this afternoon, Director of Rugby David Humphreys hailed the 'never say die' attitude of the team, after despite not being at their best, fighting back to take a 40-32 win after extra time over Connacht.
Jonny May continues on the wing on Sunday as Connacht come to town, and the England wing explains to the local media this week that he is delighted with his form and is looking forward to taking on Pat Lam's men.
Speaking to the local media this week, front rower John Afoa is familiar with the challenge of Connacht from his time in Belfast, and the World Cup winner is fully aware of the challenge they pose ahead of Sunday's meeting in the Champions Cup play off
Speaking ahead of Gloucester's European Rugby Champions play-off against Connacht on Sunday (Kingsholm, 3:30pm), Director of Rugby David Humphreys admitted that he's glad to have more players available than in recent weeks ahead of a tough fixture.
Nick Wood captained the Cherry and Whites on Saturday afternoon, and the experienced front rower expressed his pride in the young squad in defeat to Bath on the final day of the Aviva Premiership season.
Lewis Ludlow scored Gloucester's opening try in the 30-50 defeat at Bath on Saturday, part of an impressive performance by the young back row forward. Speaking after the game, he paid tribute to the young Gloucester side who went toe to toe with the Aviva Premiership semi-finalists.
Speaking to the local media after the game, Director of Rugby David Humphreys gave an honest assessment of the game, and expressed his pride in the way his young charges had performed against the title-chasing hosts.
Speaking to the local media this week, Gloucester Rugby scrum half Callum Braley is excited by the challenge of the West Country Derby, and the ex-Bristol man reveals the squad will be giving their all.
It was a thriller at Kingsholm on Sunday afternoon, as Gloucester snatched victory from the jaws of defeat, leveling the scores in the final minute before triumphing in extra time over a spirited Connacht side.
Having defeated Connacht Rugby in dramatic fashion in the first play-off for the final spot in the 2015-16 European Rugby Champions Cup, Gloucester Rugby can confirm ticketing details for next Sunday's game against Bordeaux-Begles at Sixways.
Gloucester snatched victory from the jaws of defeat and move on to next weekend's European Champions Cup final play-off against Bordeaux-Begles after a dramatic extra time win over a valiant Connacht side.