ANTHONY ALLEN will return to Gloucester's midfield for their Guinness Premiership showdown against Wasps on Sunday.
The England centre has not featured since being withdrawn mid-way through Gloucester's Heineken Cup defeat against Munster last month with a shoulder injury.
Allen has so far made 27 appearances in all competitions this season and has scored six tries and he returns in a centre partnership with Mike Tindall that allows James Simpson-Daniel to switch back to the wing as head coach Dean Ryan names his line-up that will not include Lesley Vainikolo because of a hamstring strain.
That means Iain Balshaw continues on the other wing and Olly Morgan will make his first start at full-back since the defeat against Munster.
Ryan Lamb and Rory Lawson will start their fifth successive match together as half-back partners.
The forwards have a settled feel to them. Nick Wood will pack down at loose-head alongside hooker Andy Titterrell, who will start his seventh successive game, and Carlos Nieto.
Marco Bortolami will skipper the side from the second row alongside Alex Brown. Alasdair Strokosch will wear six and form a back row alongside Akapusi Qera, who scored a hat-trick in Gloucester's victory over Leeds, and number eight Luke Narraway.
"We are very aware of what Sunday represents in terms of the challenge we face and what we have to do to match it," said Gloucester's head coach Dean Ryan.
"It's about a physicality level we have experienced at the top end of Europe and we will be ready for that. Wasps are an outstanding side, well schooled in the arts of knockout rugby and that is what makes the challenge very exciting.
"But we need to concentrate and focus on our game and getting the maximum out of the threat we can create. If we can do that then I am positive we can stretch any team we come up against.
"We have given ourselves an opportunity towards the play-offs but nothing has been accomplished yet which is why this game means so much to us."
On the bench, Ryan has opted for a five-two forward split. Hooker Olivier Azam and prop Alasdair Dickinson are the front row options; Will James is the second row cover, while both Peter Buxton and Gareth Delve complete the forwards.
Scrum-half Gareth Cooper and Willie Walker - both starters against Leeds - are the three-quarter options.
GLOUCESTER (v Wasps, Sunday, 3pm): Olly Morgan; James Simpson-Daniel, Mike Tindall, Anthony Allen, Iain Balshaw; Ryan Lamb, Rory Lawson; Nick Wood, Andy Titterrell, Carlos Nieto, Marco Bortolami (capt), Alex Brown, Alasdair Strokosch, Akapusi Qera, Luke Narraway. Reps: Olivier Azam, Alasdair Dickinson, Will James, Peter Buxton, Gareth Delve, Gareth Cooper, Willie Walker.
Jonny May's superb late score capped a thrilling 40-32 European play-off win over Connacht on Sunday. The winger spoke afterwards of his team's character and spirit as he looked ahead to one more week of rugby.
Speaking to GRTV this afternoon, Director of Rugby David Humphreys hailed the 'never say die' attitude of the team, after despite not being at their best, fighting back to take a 40-32 win after extra time over Connacht.
Jonny May continues on the wing on Sunday as Connacht come to town, and the England wing explains to the local media this week that he is delighted with his form and is looking forward to taking on Pat Lam's men.
Speaking to the local media this week, front rower John Afoa is familiar with the challenge of Connacht from his time in Belfast, and the World Cup winner is fully aware of the challenge they pose ahead of Sunday's meeting in the Champions Cup play off
Speaking ahead of Gloucester's European Rugby Champions play-off against Connacht on Sunday (Kingsholm, 3:30pm), Director of Rugby David Humphreys admitted that he's glad to have more players available than in recent weeks ahead of a tough fixture.
Nick Wood captained the Cherry and Whites on Saturday afternoon, and the experienced front rower expressed his pride in the young squad in defeat to Bath on the final day of the Aviva Premiership season.
Lewis Ludlow scored Gloucester's opening try in the 30-50 defeat at Bath on Saturday, part of an impressive performance by the young back row forward. Speaking after the game, he paid tribute to the young Gloucester side who went toe to toe with the Aviva Premiership semi-finalists.
Speaking to the local media after the game, Director of Rugby David Humphreys gave an honest assessment of the game, and expressed his pride in the way his young charges had performed against the title-chasing hosts.
Speaking to the local media this week, Gloucester Rugby scrum half Callum Braley is excited by the challenge of the West Country Derby, and the ex-Bristol man reveals the squad will be giving their all.
At the recent London Irish game, personnel from the Imjin Barracks in Innsworth, including Gurkhas, were present, holding a collection to raise funds for ShelterBox to aid relief from the recent Nepal Earthquake Appeal.
It was a thriller at Kingsholm on Sunday afternoon, as Gloucester snatched victory from the jaws of defeat, leveling the scores in the final minute before triumphing in extra time over a spirited Connacht side.
Having defeated Connacht Rugby in dramatic fashion in the first play-off for the final spot in the 2015-16 European Rugby Champions Cup, Gloucester Rugby can confirm ticketing details for next Sunday's game against Bordeaux-Begles at Sixways.