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).
A handful of the Gloucester Rugby Mo-Bros visited Pride Hair Salon in Gloucester on Wednesday afternoon to have the final touches applied to their Movember efforts, and the team captain Jacob Rowan spoke to GRTV ahead of the final few days of the month.
Northampton away was the first Gloucester game under David Humphreys last season, but the Director of Rugby told the local media that the Cherry and Whites are a different proposition compared to 12 months ago and are looking forward to the challenge.
Having skippered Gloucester against the Barbarians last week, Nick Wood once again wore the captain's armband on Monday evening as Gloucester United kicked off their Aviva Premiership A League campaign with a bonus point win at Leicester.
Gloucester recorded a 32-20 win over La Rochelle on Thursday evening, and second row Jeremy Thrush was thrilled to pick up the victory on his first taste of a trip to France and the hostile atmosphere.
Gloucester were forced to battle for their 33-20 victory in La Rochelle on Thursday evening, something that centre Bill Meakes said that he and the squad were well prepared for as well as thanking the travelling support for the part they played.
Gloucester got off to a winning start in the European Rugby Challenge Cup last weekend, but Head Coach Laurie Fisher is expecting a much tougher challenge when the Cherry and Whites travel to La Rochelle for Thursday night's Round Two encounter.
Dan Thomas was a try scorer in the 14-62 defeat at the hands of the Barbarians on Tuesday evening, but told GRTV after the game that he'd really enjoyed taking on the Barbarians and locking horns with Ardie Savea at the breakdown.
After missing out on Gloucester's two recent European fixtures, Jonny May is back on the left wing for Friday evening's Aviva Premiership fixture at Northampton, while Mariano Galarza is named in the matchday squad for the first time this season.