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).
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Speaking with the local media before the Gloucester team set off on the long trip north to Newcastle, Director of Rugby David Humphreys discussed his team selection and stated that Friday night's meeting will be a challenging one.
Speaking to the local media on Thursday, Matt Kvesic was looking forward to the trip to Newcastle Falcons, and the captain is looking to lead from the front with plenty for the Cherry and Whites to work on.
Gloucester saw a 12-0 lead overturned by Harlequins on Friday night as the visitors ran out 22-15 winners. After the game, Director of Rugby David Humphreys spoke about missed opportunities on the night.
Speaking to the local media on Thursday, James Hudson explained his excitement for tonight's game with Harlequins and that he is backing the Cherry and White squad to impress during the next set of Aviva Premiership games.
20 year old Lewis Ludlow was one of Gloucester's young guns who contributed hugely to the 18-9 LV= Cup win at London Welsh on Sunday afternoon. After the game, he praised his team mates for the massive team effort by an inexperienced side.
There are three changes to Gloucester Rugby's starting line-up for Friday evening's Aviva Premiership fixture away at Newcastle Falcons. Steve McColl will make his first Premiership start for the club.