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).
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
Kiwi second row Jeremy Thrush is thoroughly enjoying his time in Cherry and White so far, and this weekend the Leicester Tigers are the visitors to Kingsholm, and the All Black is massively excited about the challenge.
After two wins in the European Rugby Challenge Cup, securing a home quarter-final, David Humphreys told the local media this week that Gloucester are coming into Saturday's game in good physical shape having rotated the squad. However, he and the squad are prepared for a tough encounter against the Tigers.
Speaking to GRTV after the 14-11 win in Zebre on Saturday, Bill Meakes acknowledged that Zebre had forced Gloucester to dig very deep to earn the win and made a point of thanking the tremendous travelling support.
It's almost four years since Gloucester won a Premiership game at the Rec against Bath. However, they got that monkey off their back on Friday evening with a hard-fought 15-11 win in testing conditions.
John Afoa returns to the Gloucester Rugby starting line up to take on Bath Rugby at the Rec in the Aviva Premiership on Friday evening, one of three changes to the side that started against Leicester last weekend.
Great news this afternoon as Cherry and White duo Mat Protheroe and Ollie Thorley have been named to start for England as they open up their Under 20 Six Nations campaign against Scotland in Glasgow this Friday
A number of Gloucester Rugby's Academy players will be part of a Hartpury Rugby squad which will travel to Pennyhill Park on Thursday to train with Eddie Jones' England side in their build up to take on Scotland.