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.
Motu Matu'u is looking to make up for lost time this week as the Cherry and Whites head to Basque Country to take on Bayonne in the European Rugby Challenge Cup opener. The Samoan hooker made his first appearance in the jersey last weekend, and is hoping to contribute to the team this weekend.
Gloucester's attentions turn to Europe this weekend as they travel to Bayonne for their opening fixture of this season's European Rugby Challenge Cup. Forwards Coach Trevor Woodman told GRTV that the Cherry and Whites will be aiming to top their pool as they've done for the past two seasons, but is well aware of how tough it is to win in France.
Although understandably disappointed at seeing victory slip away at the last minute, Ben Morgan said after the game at Exeter that there were plenty of positives that Gloucester could take from the game.
Speaking after a last-gasp try from Exeter earned the Chiefs a 27-27 draw at Sandy Park on Saturday, Charlie Sharples admitted to mixed feelings. The game saw him score a try on his 200th competitive appearance for the club, but the frustration from not closing out the win was clear.
David Humphreys was minutes away from a winning interview on Saturday afternoon, but a late try from Exeter Chiefs meant the points were shared at Sandy Park. Humphreys spoke with the local media after the 27-27 draw.
Speaking to the media ahead of Saturday's Aviva Premiership fixture away at Exeter Chiefs, Director of Rugby David Humphreys reiterated that there are elements of Gloucester's game that are in good shape at present, that the performance against Bath was a step forward from Newcastle but that individual errors are costing the Cherry and Whites dear.
Lesley Vainikolo was a welcome visitor to Kingsholm this week, reminiscing as he wandered around the stadium. The big winger is back in Gloucester to take part in Sunday's Mitsubishi Motors UK Hybrid Cup (kick off 3pm).
Centre Matt Scott, a try-scorer in Bayonne last weekend, insists that Gloucester are taking nothing for granted when they welcome Benetton Treviso to Kingsholm on Saturday in the European Rugby Challenge Cup (kick off 3pm).