James Simpson-Daniel is back for Gloucester tomorrow
Bruce Seabrook/GPA Images
GLOUCESTER will welcome back two of their brightest attacking threats for their derby against Worcester tomorrow (3pm).
Both James Simpson-Daniel and Ryan Lamb will return to the starting line-up following hamstring and ankle injuries respectively and are a significant boost to Dean Ryan's side as they aim to bounce back from Sunday's 24-22 defeat against Saracens.
The pair were both injured against Sale last month and have not played since. Jon Goodridge starts at full-back in place of Olly Morgan, who is on duty with England and he will make his first Premiership start of the season in the number 15 jersey.
"There are obviously injuries knocking around the squad at the moment but to have two players like James and Ryan available for a game of this intensity and importance is great for us," Ryan told www.gloucesterrugby.co.uk
"Both are excellent players, both provide a real attacking threat and that will be crucial to us."
Lamb comes in for Ludovic Mercier at stand-off and Simpson-Daniel replaces James Bailey. Jack Adams replaces Anthony Allen, who suffered a knock to the head last Sunday and is ruled out through injury.
Scrum-half Peter Richards also earns a start in place of Rory Lawson, who is with Scotland.
The forwards also have a settled feel and there are only two changes from the eight that started against Saracens.
Nick Wood comes in at loosehead prop and Christian Califano switches to tighthead in place of Carlos Nieto, who is on international duty with Italy.
But it is the number eight position that has caused a problem or two for Ryan this week. James Forrester is expected to be out of action for up to three weeks with a dislocation of his thumb, Jake Boer picked up a heavy knock to the head last Sunday and Luke Narraway returned from the England Sevens squad with a hamstring injury.
It means Ryan has named Adam Eustace at number eight instead of his usual second row position.
They are filled by Will James and Alex Brown, while Peter Buxton and Andy Hazell are the flankers.
"There is no getting away from the fact we have been disrupted by injuries, particularly at number eight, but we are looking forward to this game," Ryan added.
"Worcester have a great forward pack and aim to put a lot of pressure on so we need to try and break things up because we don't want to stay in a driving contest against a side who are good at it.
"But home form is important to us, we will have great crowd support and if we can get the balance in our game right and play with good ambition, I am sure it will be a good game."
On the bench, Gloucester's forward options are Jack Forster, hooker Mefin Davies, lock Jonathan Pendlebury and flanker James Merriman.
The three-quarter options are scrum-half Haydn Thomas, Mercier and Bailey.
GLOUCESTER (v Worcester, tomorrow 3pm): Jon Goodridge; James Simpson-Daniel, Rudi Keil, Jack Adams, Mark Foster; Ryan Lamb, Peter Richards; Nick Wood, Olivier Azam, Christian Califano, Will James, Alex Brown, Peter Buxton (capt), Andy Hazell, Adam Eustace. Reps: Jack Forster, Mefin Davies, Jonathan Pendlebury, James Merriman, Ludovic Mercier, Haydn Thomas, James Bailey.
As Gloucester prepare for their 39th game of the season, against Bordeaux-Begles at Sixways on Sunday, David Humphreys told the local media that this week has been all about getting the players mentally and physically ready after a tough game against Connacht last Sunday.
Speaking to GRTV after the 40-32 victory over Connacht on Sunday, skipper Billy Twelvetrees explained that Gloucester had had to learn to be patient and cut out the errors to earn the win and progress to next weekend's final play-off against Bordeaux-Begles.
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.
Tongan international forward Sione Kalamafoni returns after injury to take up his usual place in the back row as Gloucester look to finish their season on a high against Bordeaux-Begles at Sixways on Sunday.
Gloucester Rugby is delighted to confirm that 18 year old Mat Protheroe, a product of Hartpury College and one of the brightest young talents in the English game, has signed a senior contract at Kingsholm.