DEAN RYAN has opted to place his trust in youth ahead of Gloucester's Guinness Premiership clash against Northampton tomorrow (3pm).
The Gloucester head coach has named Nick Wood, Rob Elloway, Jonathan Pendlebury and Luke Narraway - all under the age of 24 - in his starting line-up at Franklin's Gardens.
Wood comes in at loose-head prop in place of Patrice Collazo, Elloway retains the hooking position because Mefin Davies is on international duty, Pendlebury starts alongside Alex Brown at lock and Narraway gets the nod in the crucial number eight slot.
In all, there are six changes from Gloucester's last Premiership outing - a 18-15 defeat against Bath last month.
Also coming into the starting XV is Peter Buxton, who has recovered from a hamstring injury and he will skipper the side. The one change in the three-quarters sees Terry Fanolua come into the centre alongside James Simpson-Daniel.
Rudi Keil was not considered for selection because of flu.
In all, Ryan has 15 names unavailable through a combination of injury and international call-ups but is able to welcome back James Forrester from a wrist injury and he will sit on the bench.
However, he is still expecting a highly charged performance from individuals craving more regular first team opportunities.
"We expect high enthusiasm levels and some of the hurt and some of the burning disappointment of our last performance to come out in what we produce this weekend," he told www.gloucesterrugby.co.uk
"We have been driven by our performance levels all season but we know we have to improve from our game against Bath.
"The average age of the side will be young and will have a lot to prove. In the past, these guys have come in and stood up to the challenge and we need them to again in what will be a very tough environment.
"At the moment we face a situation that who is left will be involved. We have only three props and four back row forwards available. We do have injury issues and that means the side that takes the field will be young and have a lot to prove.
"But from a club point of view I am delighted that we have Alex Brown and James Simpson-Daniel available."
The make-up of the backs remains virtually unchanged with James Bailey, Mark Foster and Jon Goodridge forming the back three, while Ludovic Mercier and Peter Richards at half-back. On the bench, Haydn Thomas returns for the first time since damaging his clavicle against Leeds in December.
Rob Thirlby is also included, as is Brad Davies as cover for the backs.
The players not available this weekend are: Olly Morgan (ankle), Jack Adams (knee), Rudi Keil (flu), Mike Tindall (England v France), Anthony Allen, Ryan Lamb (England Under-21s), Henry Paul, Simon Amor (Commonwealth Games), Phil Vickery (back), Mefin Davies (Wales v Italy), Adam Balding (knee), Jake Boer (knee), Will Matthews (knee), Olivier Azam (shoulder), James Merriman (Commonwealth Games).
GLOUCESTER (v Northampton, tomorrow, 3pm): Jon Goodridge; James Bailey, James Simpson-Daniel, Terry Fanolua, Mark Foster; Ludovic Mercier, Peter Richards; Nick Wood, Rob Elloway, Terry Sigley, Jonathan Pendlebury, Alex Brown, Peter Buxton (capt), Andy Hazell, Luke Narraway. Reps: James Parkes, Jack Forster, Adam Eustace, James Forrester, Haydn Thomas, Brad Davies, Rob Thirlby.
Speaking to the local media this week, Richard Hibbard expressed his excitement ahead of the West Country derby and that there is an extra spring in the step of the Cherry and Whites ahead of the tough challenge.
With such a short turnaround between the two games, and Gloucester looking to reintegrate several players into the line-up after the Autumn international series, Tom Savage told GRTV that the Cherry and Whites will keep changes to a minimum for the European Rugby Challenge Cup game in Zebre on Saturday.
Gloucester travel to Italy this weekend to take on Zebre in Round Four of the European Rugby Challenge Cup. The Cherry and Whites defeated the Italian side 35-10 last Sunday, but Director of Rugby David Humphreys is looking for an improved performance in the return fixture.
On a tough evening at Kingsholm, Gloucester could escape neither a suffocating Bath defence, nor the whistle of referee Greg Garner as six penalties and a penalty try paved the way to a 39-16 win for the visitors.
Gloucester Rugby welcome Sione Kalamafoni, Greig Laidlaw and Tom Palmer back to the starting line up and feature David Halaifonua in a matchday squad for the first time, as they resume Aviva Premiership action against Bath Rugby at Kingsholm on Saturday (kick off 5:30pm).