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).
Willi Heinz scored Gloucester's second try as the Cherry and Whites overturned a disappointing first 40 minutes and 0-6 half time deficit, to earn a 26-18 Aviva Premiership victory over Bristol Rugby on Saturday.
It's the first Gloucester-Bristol derby at Kingsholm in over eight years this Saturday (kick off 4:30pm) and, previewing the game with the local media this week, Defence Coach Jonny Bell stressed that, with both teams in the bottom half of the table, they both need the points.
Speaking to the local media this week, Gloucester front rower John Afoa knows the challenge ahead this week against Bristol, and calls on the Cherry and Whites to make the most of home advantage as a determined squad look to bounce back from a narrow loss to Saracens.
Tom Savage speaks to GRTV and the local media as Gloucester went down by 24-20 at Saracens on Sunday afternoon. The second row was disappointed with the result, despite a strong showing from the hosts.
Speaking immediately after the game, skipper Willi Heinz thought that Gloucester had executed their game plan reasonably well and competed hard against Saracens. However, it wasn't enough but the squad will have plenty to work on this week ahead of the derby match against Bristol.
Gloucester may be coming off their best win of the season, the 38-16 victory over Wasps last weekend, but Director of Rugby David Humphreys admits that Sunday's trip to Saracens is an even tougher test.
Talk about a game of two halves. Things looked grim on Saturday as Gloucester trailed 0-6 to Bristol at half-time. However, Matt Scott's eighth try of the season got Gloucester off and running, and the visitors fell apart as the Cherry and Whites eased to a 26-18 bonus point Aviva Premiership win.