ANDY HAZELL, Gloucester's dynamic flanker, will return from a six-week absence for Gloucester's Guinness Premiership clash against Harlequins tomorrow (3pm).
The openside flanker, capped seven times by England, damaged rib cartilage against Leicester at the start of October but returns to his favourite number seven shirt as Gloucester look to strengthen their position at the top of the table.
Hazell started the first four matches of Gloucester's season and comes in for Akapusi Qera.
"We are fortunate to be able to welcome back a player of Andy's desire, commitment and determination at this stage of the season," said head coach Dean Ryan.
"He is an outstanding player for us - the injury was particularly painful but we wanted to ensure he got the right recovery time and didn't rush him.
"The reason we have a squad of such depth is so we don't rely on any one individual and over the last six weeks we have operated really well in the back row. Tomorrow, we have a strong trio and we are excited about what they bring to the side as a group.
Hazell will be joined in the back row by skipper Peter Buxton, back at number six following a stint in the second row and Gareth Delve, who will make his first start of the season at number eight.
In all, there are eight changes to the side that beat the Ospreys 26-18 at Kingsholm last Friday - including three more up front.
Patrice Collazo comes in at loose-head for Nick Wood and will make his first start since Gloucester's only Premiership defeat against London Irish at the end of October. Andy Titterrell replaces Olivier Azam at hooker and will be partnered by Carlos Nieto at tight-head.
Will James starts at lock alongside Marco Bortolami as Alex Brown recovers from a shoulder injury.
"We have worked really hard this week to ensure there was not a bit of a lull after the Heineken Cup," Ryan added. "The last couple of weeks have been exceptionally high intensity and the danger is we relax this weekend.
"As a group we have identified individuals who will get our preparation right because the emphasis is much more on ourselves this week. I think Quins have upped their standards and have developed really well as a side and a lot of credit must go to the coaches in charge for that.
"But it is up to us to impose ourselves and not take our foot off the gas - this is a hugely important game for us."
In the backs, there will be a new half-back combination with Gareth Cooper returning to the side following a hamstring injury alongside Chris Paterson at stand-off.
There is only one other change in the three-quarters with Olly Morgan coming in for Iain Balshaw at full-back.
Anthony Allen, a try scorer against the Ospreys, partners Mike Tindall in the centre, while James Simpson-Daniel and Lesley Vainikolo complete the back three alongside Morgan.
On the bench, prop Alasdair Dickinson makes a return to the 22 for the second time and will partnered by Olivier Azam, Luke Narraway and Alasdair Strokosch.
Rory Lawson, Ryan Lamb, Gloucester's leading Premiership point's scorer and Iain Balshaw are Ryan's three-quarter options.
GLOUCESTER (v Harlequins, tomorrow, 3pm): Olly Morgan; James Simpson-Daniel, Mike Tindall, Anthony Allen, Lesley Vainikolo; Chris Paterson, Gareth Cooper; Patrice Collazo, Andy Titterrell, Carlos Nieto, Will James, Marco Bortolami, Peter Buxton (capt), Andy Hazell, Gareth Delve. Reps: Olivier Azam, Alasdair Dickinson, Luke Narraway, Alasdair Strokosch, Rory Lawson, Ryan Lamb, Iain Balshaw.
TICKETS are still available for tomorrow's game in all areas of the stadium. Contact the ticket hotline on 0871 871 8781 (option 2).
Thinking of placing a bet on the game against Quins on Saturday?
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Gloucester look to build upon the local derby win over Bath last weekend with Harlequins the visitors to Kingsholm on Saturday (kick off 3pm). Director of Rugby David Humphreys is expecting a close game with the two teams well matched, although it may not be a 78 point thriller like the last time the two teams met.
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
After a disappointing opening weekend loss to their Scottish counterparts, England U20s will be eager to bounce back in Italy this evening, with Gloucester flyer Mat Protheroe set to pull the strings from fly half.
Gloucester Rugby make just the one change to the starting line up that won at Bath last Friday evening, flanker Matt Kvesic restored to the starting XV as the Cherry and Whites welcome Harlequins to Kingsholm in the Aviva Premiership on Saturday (kick off 3pm).
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.