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, back row flanker Jacob Rowan said that he is excited for the challenge at the Ricoh Arena this Sunday, and added that the players know the responsibility is theirs to deliver against the league leaders.
Ben Morgan was on media duty this week, and as Gloucester prepare for Sunday's trip to Wasps, the number eight is looking forward to see Gloucester go toe-to-toe with another of the Aviva Premiership's front runners.
Tom Marshall scored his first Gloucester try in the 31-23 win over Saracens on Friday evening and was named Man of the Match. Talking to GRTV, he praised the forwards for setting the tone on the night.
Matt Scott was on media duty this week, and the Scottish international spoke about the benefit of having a full week of training with his club mates and the determination to get back to performing well against Saracens this Friday evening.
Following the conclusion of the Aviva Premiership game against Harlequins on Saturday, it'll be the turn of the Gloucester-Hartpury Women to grace the Kingsholm turf when they take on Worcester Ladies IIs.
Westbury-on-Severn RFC was the host on Friday as the Gloucester Rugby Community Department joined pupils from schools in the Forest of Dean for a tag rugby festival as part of the Aviva Tackling Numbers delivery.
Last Friday night saw Gloucester Rugby Head of Community Adam Balding present a cheque for £7082.82 to the Royal British Legion as a result of a series of fundraising during the Remembrance Period in November.
Gloucester battled bravely against Wasps on Sunday, but it was a case of taking chances at the Ricoh Arena. Gloucester didn't make the most of theirs while Wasps did, and that proved to be the difference.
Gloucester were competitive for long periods at the Ricoh Arena on Sunday afternoon, but were left to rue a host of missed scoring opportunities throughout as Wasps hit back to earn a 35-22 Aviva Premiership win.