LESLEY VAINIKOLO will jump straight back into Gloucester's starting line-up for Sunday's Heineken Cup pool decider against Ulster at Kingsholm (1pm).
Following a period of mourning following the death of his father in New Zealand, Vainikolo makes an immediate return to Gloucester colours and is desperate to turn his attentions towards his rugby before meeting up with the England squad next week.
"I have been fortunate to have received a great deal of support but I am really happy to be back, be around the boys again and thinking about rugby," Vainikolo said.
"It's great I have an opportunity this weekend and I want to go out and repay the faith people have in me. There is a job to do on Sunday and we must make sure we achieve it."
Vainikolo did not feature against either Bath or the Ospreys but has scored nine tries in nine appearances so far this season.
He comes in on the wing for Leon Lloyd as head coach Dean Ryan makes five other changes to the team that lost 32-15 at the Liberty Stadium.
There is a double change at half-back where Rory Lawson and Chris Paterson come in for Ryan Lamb and Gareth Cooper, Nick Wood returns at loose-head in place of Christian Califano, Olivier Azam starts at hooker and Alasdair Strokosch wears six to enable Peter Buxton to move into the second row following the loss of Alex Brown with a broken arm.
"I think it shows the strength of our squad that we are able to rotate two players of the quality of Ryan and Chris," said head coach Ryan. "Chris is a guy of proven international quality and has a wonderful record. We are hugely fortunate to have him for a game of this calibre and in these conditions.
"He is streetwise and experienced and they are crucial qualities."
Of Vainikolo's return, Ryan added: "We have a support structure in place because he has obviously been through a very tough time. But he is a very positive guy and I am sure he will channel it into a performance.
"He handles himself very well and is really keen to get back onto the pitch with us."
Lawson, who scored a try at the Liberty, has made 13 appearances in all competitions this season, while Cooper and Lamb both move to the bench.
The rest of Ryan's backline remains intact which means Anthony Allen and Mike Tindall partner each other in midfield and James Simpson-Daniel and Iain Balshaw complete a back three alongside Vainikolo.
Up front, Wood returns following a hamstring strain and will partner Olivier Azam and Carlos Nieto in the front row.
Buxton will make his ninth appearance of the season at lock and skipper Bortolami will wear five. Strokosch, Akapusi Qera and Gareth Delve are the back row.
"Despite the defeat last weekend we are in a good position and know a victory will take us through," Ryan added. "But it is up to us to go out and produce a performance that will help us earn it."
GLOUCESTER (v Ulster, Sunday. 1pm): Iain Balshaw; James Simpson-Daniel, Mike Tindall, Anthony Allen, Lesley Vainikolo, Chris Paterson, Rory Lawson, Nick Wood, Olivier Azam, Carlos Nieto, Peter Buxton, Marco Bortolami (capt), Alasdair Strokosch, Akapusi Qera, Gareth Delve. Reps: Andy Titterrell, Christian Califano, Will James, Luke Narraway, Gareth Cooper, Ryan Lamb, Willie Walker.
There are still tickets available for Sunday's game and they can be purchased online at www.gloucesterrugby.co.uk or from the ticket hotline number on 0871 871 8781 (option 2).
Skipper Billy Twelvetrees led Gloucester Rugby to European glory on Friday evening, scoring the crucial try on a memorable night for the Cherry and Whites. After the game, he paid tribute to his team's performance under pressure in the latter stages as they withstood a ferocious late Edinburgh fightback.
Speaking to GRTV, James Hook admitted that, after a superb opening, Gloucester really had to pass a test of character to hold off Edinburgh and lift the European Rugby Challenge Cup. He paid tribute to his team mates for all their hard work on what was a great day for the club.
Speaking to the assembled media this week, Gloucester Rugby club captain Billy Twelvetrees explains that the squad are ready for the final and that it will be an honour to lead the Cherry and Whites out in the Challenge Cup final.
Gloucester Rugby scrum half Greig Laidlaw will line up against former team mates Edinburgh Rugby on Friday evening, but the focus is firmly on his own roles as the Cherry and Whites gear up for the EPCR Challenge Cup final at The Stoop.
Speaking to the media ahead of Friday evening's European Rugby Challenge Cup Final against Edinburgh, Director of Rugby David Humphreys stressed that his improving Gloucester team will need to perform at their best to prevail against a tough Edinburgh side.
Dan Robson, a second half try scorer in the 42-40 win over Newcastle on Saturday, admitted that Gloucester had started slowly but that the second half comeback showed real character and maintains momentum going into Friday's European final.
Gareth Evans was a first half replacement for the Cherry and Whites on Saturday afternoon, but the back rower's impressive carrying kept the hosts on the front foot when they needed it most to snatch a dramatic comeback win.
After his last ditch try clinched the 42-40 Aviva Premiership victory over Newcastle at Kingsholm on Saturday, Billy Burns told GRTV that all the Gloucester team deserve credit for hanging in there against a Falcons team who really made life tough for the Cherry and Whites.
Figures released by EPCR following Gloucester winning the European Rugby Challenge Cup on Friday evening show that, unsurprisingly, a number of those wearing Cherry and White showed up well in the various statistical categories.
Speaking after the European Rugby Challenge Cup triumph on Friday evening, Director of Rugby David Humphreys was thrilled with how the Cherry and Whites managed the game and secured the first major European silverware for nine years.
Friday night saw the Cherry and Whites lift the European Rugby Challenge Cup following the 19-13 victory over Edinburgh Rugby. The club photographer caught the best of the action and celebrations from The Stoop.
Once again for Gloucester, it went right to the very last whistle, the 14 men in Cherry and White hanging on heroically to win the European Rugby Challenge Cup by 19 points to 13 over Edinburgh at the Stoop on Friday evening.
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