GLOUCESTER have recalled Mike Tindall to their squad for tomorrow's sell-out Heineken Cup quarter-final showdown against Munster at Kingsholm (5.30pm).
Head coach Dean Ryan confirmed today that the England centre will feature as a replacement when the Kingsholm club contest their third quarter-final and first against Munster.
Tindall has not played since seriously damaging his liver against Wales in the first round of the Six Nations in February.
"The situation was pretty new for everybody," said head coach Ryan on Tindall's situation. "We didn't want to take a risk with Mike for the sake of one game and we left the decision pretty much to him. Needless to say, to have a player of his experience and understanding available for a game of this magnitude is huge for us.
"He has done everything that he needs to do - he will bring a level of expertise that are key in these games."
The majority of Ryan's line-up remains intact from the one that lost 17-14 to Worcester last weekend but there are also significant alterations.
Chris Paterson comes in on the wing in place of the injured Iain Balshaw, Peter Buxton returns to the blindside flank and Andy Hazell comes in for Akapusi Qera, who is also ruled out through injury.
Buxton has been an ever present in Gloucester's Heineken Cup campaign so far this season and replaces Alasdair Strokosch. Because of injury, this will be Hazell's first Heineken Cup appearance of the season and he will complete a back row alongside number eight Luke Narraway.
The rest of the forward pack remains unchanged. Nick Wood, Andy Titterrell and Carlos Nieto form the front row, while skipper Marco Bortolami and Alex Brown are the second rows.
"I say this regularly but this is a side picked purely on the challenges we face this weekend," Ryan said. "The Heineken Cup is capable of doing unique things to individuals and we are up against a side who have a special relationship with this competition and we want to get to the levels they have attained in the past.
"For us, home advantage gives us a little bit more of a lift - it gives us more confidence and maybe could be the margin that works for us on the day.
"It is up to us to go out and put a performance together we can be proud of and if we can do that then we can definitely be a threat, of that I have no doubt.
"We want to be moving and if we can do that I am sure we can challenge Munster."
The only change in the backs is the involvement of Paterson and he will make his 15 appearance of the season in all competitions. Rory Lawson and Ryan Lamb will partner each other at half-back, while Anthony Allen - who will make his 27th appearance of the season in all competitions and already has two tries in the Heineken Cup this season - and will line-up alongside James Simpson-Daniel in the centre.
Olly Morgan will wear the number 15 shirt and complete a back three alongside Lesley Vainikolo - who scored his eighth Guinness Premiership try last weekend - and Paterson.
"The balance of the side is good and we are ready," Ryan said. "There has been so much interest and such a build up that we just want to get to the game now."
On the bench, hooker Jeremy Paul will partner Alasdair Dickinson as Gloucester's front row options. Will James and Gareth Delve will complete the four forwards, while scrum-half Gareth Cooper, Willie Walker and Tindall are the three-quarter replacements.
GLOUCESTER (v Munster, tomorrow, 5.30pm): Olly Morgan; Chris Paterson, James Simpson-Daniel, Anthony Allen, Lesley Vainikolo; Ryan Lamb, Rory Lawson; Nick Wood, Andy Titterrell, Carlos Nieto, Marco Bortolami (capt), Alex Brown, Peter Buxton, Andy Hazell, Luke Narraway. Reps: Jeremy Paul, Alasdair Dickinson, Will James, Gareth Delve, Gareth Cooper, Willie Walker, Mike Tindall.
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.
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.
Tongan international forward Sione Kalamafoni returns after injury to take up his usual place in the back row as Gloucester look to finish their season on a high against Bordeaux-Begles at Sixways on Sunday.
Gloucester Rugby is delighted to confirm that 18 year old Mat Protheroe, a product of Hartpury College and one of the brightest young talents in the English game, has signed a senior contract at Kingsholm.