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.
Named Man of the Match by BT Sport, scrum-half Willi Heinz said after the 15-11 win at Bath on Friday evening that it was a pretty happy Gloucester dressing room and reward for a lot of hard work put in during the week leading up to the game.
Speaking after the 15-11 win over Bath at the Rec on Friday evening, David Humphreys heaped praise on his players, pointing out how they had bounced back after last week's tough defeat to overcome a rough start before controlling the game and earning the win.
Gloucester Rugby hooker Richard Hibbard spoke to the local media this week as the Cherry and Whites prepare to face Bath Rugby in the Aviva Premiership. The Welshman is ready to bounce back at The Rec.
Speaking to the local media about the local derby against Bath at the Rec on Friday evening, Director of Rugby David Humphreys acknowledged that it will be a tough encounter but hugely exciting at the same time and one the squad are looking forward to.
A visibly disappointed Billy Twelvetrees admitted that it was a very sombre Gloucester dressing room as a last minute try and conversion condemned the Cherry and Whites to an 18-19 defeat against Leicester Tigers on Saturday.
A disappointed Tom Savage told GRTV, after the 18-19 defeat at home to the Leicester Tigers, that the whole Gloucester team had put in a fantastic effort, but just couldn't find the extra one or two percent necessary to put away a top side.
Speaking after the narrow loss to Leicester Tigers on Saturday afternoon, David Humphreys says despite there being a lot of good in Gloucester's performance, he rued the failure to close the game out, as well as thanking the home support
Kiwi second row Jeremy Thrush is thoroughly enjoying his time in Cherry and White so far, and this weekend the Leicester Tigers are the visitors to Kingsholm, and the All Black is massively excited about the challenge.
After two wins in the European Rugby Challenge Cup, securing a home quarter-final, David Humphreys told the local media this week that Gloucester are coming into Saturday's game in good physical shape having rotated the squad. However, he and the squad are prepared for a tough encounter against the Tigers.
It's almost four years since Gloucester won a Premiership game at the Rec against Bath. However, they got that monkey off their back on Friday evening with a hard-fought 15-11 win in testing conditions.
John Afoa returns to the Gloucester Rugby starting line up to take on Bath Rugby at the Rec in the Aviva Premiership on Friday evening, one of three changes to the side that started against Leicester last weekend.
Great news this afternoon as Cherry and White duo Mat Protheroe and Ollie Thorley have been named to start for England as they open up their Under 20 Six Nations campaign against Scotland in Glasgow this Friday
A number of Gloucester Rugby's Academy players will be part of a Hartpury Rugby squad which will travel to Pennyhill Park on Thursday to train with Eddie Jones' England side in their build up to take on Scotland.