GLOUCESTER will launch themselves into a Guinness Premiership derby against Worcester Warriors tomorrow and welcome back two key members of Dean Ryan's squad.
Both Alex Brown and Olly Morgan return to the starting line-up following injuries and will be part of a vastly different team from the one that lost to Sale in the last round of matches.
Brown comes back following surgery on a fractured jaw sustained against Harlequins and will partner Marco Bortolami at lock.
But the return of Morgan is even more significant. The England full-back has been out of action since Gloucester's 31-7 Heineken Cup victory over Bourgoin in December because of a dislocated shoulder and has not played since.
"Obviously, we have missed Olly's contribution in the squad since his injury because he is a very good player," said head coach Dean Ryan. "We are approaching the end of the season; we have players back who have operated in different playing environments during the Six Nations and also from injury so we must kick on now.
"Guys like Morgan and Alex Brown will play key roles between now and the end of the season and it is great to have them back for what is such an important game tomorrow.
"This is something we are looking forward to - there has been real focus this week."
In total, there are 12 changes to the team that lost 22-16 to the Sharks. Only loose-head prop Nick Wood, hooker Andy Titterrell and Akapusi Qera retain their places - although Qera moves to the openside flank to accommodate Luke Narraway at number eight.
Alongside Wood and Titterrell, Carlos Nieto returns at tight-head. Skipper Bortolami returns at lock alongside Brown and he will make his first start since Gloucester's defeat against Bristol in February.
Alasdair Strokosch, one of Scotland's stand-out performers in the Six Nations, starts at six, Qera moves to seven and Narraway comes in at eight.
"We have options available and have selected the side accordingly to fit this specific fixture - nothing more than that," Ryan said. "The focus has been really good this week - we are not looking at anything else other than tomorrow's game and have put a group together we believe will be very competitive.
"Not only are Worcester hugely competitive but when they play some rugby are a huge threat - it should be a cracking contest.
"Considering the disruption we have faced over the last seven or eight weeks to be in a play-off place is testament to the squad and we must build on that now."
In the backs, only Anthony Allen retains his place from the defeat at Sale. Scrum-half Rory Lawson comes in and will partner Ryan Lamb at half-back. Lamb has not started since Gloucester's 28-20 win over Newcastle at the end of February because of a shoulder injury.
Alongside Allen, James Simpson-Daniel will move into the centre and look to add to his six tries in 12 Guinness Premiership appearances this season.
With Morgan's return to the back three, Iain Balshaw switches to the wing and Lesley Vainikolo will complete the line-up.
On the bench, Jeremy Paul and Alasdair Dickinson are the front row options; Will James will cover lock and Gareth Delve number eight.
The back replacements are scrum-half Gareth Cooper, utility back Willie Walker and Scotland international Chris Paterson.
GLOUCESTER (v Worcester, tomorrow 3pm): Olly Morgan; Iain Balshaw, James Simpson-Daniel, Anthony Allen, Lesley Vainikolo; Ryan Lamb, Rory Lawson; Nick Wood, Andy Titterrell, Carlos Nieto, Marco Bortolami (capt), Alex Brown, Alasdair Strokosch, Akapusi Qera, Luke Narraway. Reps: Jeremy Paul, Alasdair Dickinson, Will James, Gareth Delve, Gareth Cooper, Willie Walker, Chris Paterson.
Dan Murphy was part of a Gloucester pack which took a grip as the Sale game progressed and, ultimately, were rewarded with a late penalty try. The loose head prop says the team's improved scrummaging is down to a lot of hard work over the summer.
Gloucester clinched their first Aviva Premiership win of the season on Saturday, 34-27 over Sale Sharks, and scrum half Greig Laidlaw felt that the Kingsholm crowd played a massive part as they spurred the team on.
David Humphreys spoke to Gloucester Rugby TV after the 34-27 win over Sale Sharks at Kingsholm. The Director of Rugby praised the Kingsholm crowd for spurring the team on to a super second half comeback.
Speaking to Gloucester Rugby TV this week, Sione Kalamafoni is expecting a tough, physical battle against Sale Sharks as the Cherry and Whites return to Kingsholm for Round Two of the Aviva Premiership
Previewing this weekend's Aviva Premiership fixture at home to Sale Sharks with the local media, Director of Media David Humphreys admitted he's looking forward to the team's first competitive outing in front of their own supporters.
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