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.
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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.