JAMES SIMPSON-DANIEL will wing his way back into action for Gloucester tomorrow - wary of the threat posed by Northampton's strike-runners (Kingsholm, 2.45pm).
The England wing has missed Gloucester's opening three matches of the season so far because of an ankle injury but returns for their Sky TV date with the Saints aiming to rediscover the form that marks him down as one of the most dangerous game-breakers in the country.
Gloucester are unbeaten in their first three Guinness Premiership matches of the season and will hope to strengthen their charge tomorrow - despite being without tighthead prop Phil Vickery because of a shoulder injury.
He damaged his AC Joint against Bristol last weekend and head coach Dean Ryan said: "He was very close to selection but we decided it was best not to risk him."
It means Ryan has been forced into naming his third match captain of the season for the visit of the Saints. Mike Tindall will take over the armband after injuries to both Vickery and Adam Balding.
But Simpson-Daniel, who has not featured since the pre-season victory over Calvisano, is solely concerned with the potential threat of the Saints: "We face a huge challenge this weekend because Northampton have some very dangerous strike runners.
"They can really mix it up and we certainly don't want to get burnt by them. They have had a bit of an unpredictable start to the season but pose a real threat.
"I am just glad to be back and in the team. It has been a very frustrating time for me and I have been disappointed not to be involved but hopefully the injury is behind me and I can just get on with the season.
"It's a huge challenge for me and the team this weekend and we must rise to it."
In Vickery's absence, Gary Powell will make his first start of the season alongside Olivier Azam, who comes in for Mefin Davies, and Patrice Collazo in the front row.
In the back row, Jake Boer gets a start in the openside position in place of Andy Hazell, who takes a turn on the bench as part of the rotational policy.
There are also two changes in the backs. Peter Richards will make his second start of the campaign at scrum-half in place of Haydn Thomas and because of Simpson-Daniel's return, Rob Thirlby moves to full-back with Jon Goodridge dropping down to the bench.
There are still tickets available for tomorrow's encounter and they are available from www.gloucesterrugby.co.uk, the ticket office, which is open until 3.30 on Friday and is open on Saturday at 10am. The ticket hotline number is 0871 871 8781.
GLOUCESTER v (Northampton, Guinness Premiership, Saturday, Kingsholm 2.45): Rob Thirlby; Mark Foster, Mike Tindall (capt), Henry Paul, James Simpson-Daniel; Ludovic Mercier, Peter Richards; Patrice Collazo, Olivier Azam, Gary Powell, Adam Eustace, Alex Brown, Peter Buxton, Jake Boer, James Forrester. Reps: Terry Sigley, Mefin Davies, Mark Cornwell, Andy Hazell, Haydn Thomas, Brad Davies, Jon Goodridge.
Speaking to the local media this week, John Afoa described the hard work that the Cherry and White have been putting in and that he is fighting fit ready for Saturday's European Rugby Challenge Cup semi final clash with Exeter Chiefs.
Gloucester Rugby face Exeter Chiefs this Saturday in the European Rugby Challenge Cup semi-final, and Charlie Sharples, who starts at full back is relishing the challenge of the big Kingsholm occasion.
Gloucester meet the Exeter Chiefs for the fourth time in competitive action this weekend, this time in the semi-final of the European Rugby Challenge Cup. Director of Rugby David Humphreys told the local media this week that this is the sort of game that Gloucester want to be involved in on a regular basis and that he and his team are looking forward to it.
Following the 29-26 loss to Harlequins, club captain Billy Twelvetrees spoke of his disappointment that the Cherry and Whites were unable to cash in on the home side's indiscipline and lose a lead on Saturday afternoon.
Number eight Gareth Evans admitted to a collective feeling of frustration as Gloucester lost narrowly at Harlequins on Saturday, but insisted that there are plenty of positives to draw upon ahead of next Saturday's European Rugby Challenge Cup semi-final at home to Exeter.
Gloucester travel to the Stoop on Saturday afternoon to take on Harlequins in the Aviva Premiership. The Cherry and Whites make just two changes from last weekend's win over Connacht as they seek consistency and continuity in their play as Nick Walshe told the local media this week.
The Gloucester Rugby Ticket office can advise that the club's initial allocation of tickets for the European Rugby Challenge Cup Final has sold out. However, the club has secured an additional allocation of tickets from EPCR which will go on sale on Monday.
Following Saturday evening's exciting European Rugby Challenge Cup semi-final victory over Exeter Chiefs, the Ticket Office at Kingsholm will be open on Sunday from 11am to 3pm for Club Members to purchase tickets for the Final.
Gloucester Rugby qualified for their first European final since 2006 as they defeated the in-form Exeter Chiefs by 30 points to 19 in a thrilling semi-final at Kingsholm on Saturday evening. The club photographer caught the best of the action.
Recent meetings between these two teams have often been thrillers, and this was no exception. It went down to the final few minutes, but Gloucester produced the goods when it mattered to qualify for the European Rugby Challenge Cup Final, beating Exeter 30-19.