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 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.
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.
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.
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.