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The England centre has not featured since being withdrawn mid-way through Gloucester's Heineken Cup defeat against Munster last month with a shoulder injury.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.
As Gloucester prepare for their 39th game of the season, against Bordeaux-Begles at Sixways on Sunday, David Humphreys told the local media that this week has been all about getting the players mentally and physically ready after a tough game against Connacht last Sunday.
Speaking to GRTV after the 40-32 victory over Connacht on Sunday, skipper Billy Twelvetrees explained that Gloucester had had to learn to be patient and cut out the errors to earn the win and progress to next weekend's final play-off against Bordeaux-Begles.
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.
Following the recent announcement that XBlades were to become the club's new kit and leisurewear partner, Gloucester Rugby can today (Tuesday 30 June) confirm the opening of a new retail unit, based at Gloucester Quays Outlet Centre, as well as the launch of a brand new online shop.