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.
Previewing Friday evening's local derby at Bristol, Interim Head Coach Jonny Bell told the local media that Gloucester's preparations have gone well and that the whole squad is united in trying to finish the season on a high.
Speaking to GRTV this week, Acting Head Coach Jonny Bell spoke of his pleasure in the efforts and intensity in training from the squad after a tricky few weeks. The team were preparing for big games with Bristol and Cardiff in coming weeks.
Willi Heinz was understandably and visibly disappointed when he spoke to GRTV after the 27-30 home defeat to Harlequins, apologising to the home support as the game slipped away after seemingly having the game under control.
Speaking to the local media this week, Scottish centre Matt Scott spoke of the squad's determination to put in a big home performance against Harlequins, with vital points up for grabs in the hunt for a Top Six spot this Saturday (KO 3pm)
Looking ahead to Saturday's Aviva Premiership fixture at home to Harlequins (kick off 3pm), Head Coach Laurie Fisher told the local media that Gloucester will need to be on top of their game in a match which has big implications in terms of top six ambitions.
A big few days for the Gloucester-Hartpury Women side. First came the news that the team will compete in Women's Super Rugby next season, and on Saturday the team will play Worcester Ladies IIs at Kingsholm. Centre Hannah Jones and wing Michelle Ruddock spoke to GRTV this week to reflect on events.
Missing so many starters, and up against a team fighting for their Premiership existence, Gloucester did what had to be done at Ashton Gate on Friday evening battling their way to a 32-14 Aviva Premiership win over Bristol Rugby.