MIKE TINDALL will return to club colours tomorrow in the European Challenge Cup - with a glowing endorsement of his qualities from his club coach Dean Ryan.
In a week when England's head coach Andy Robinson named a 36-man training squad ahead of the opening Six Nations clash of the season against Wales, Tindall will be the focal of a Gloucester side aiming for the knockout stages of European competition.
They are already assured of a place in the quarter-finals but Ryan's men are aiming for a home draw in the last eight against visitors Bayonne (2pm kick-off).
He has named a strong team that has Premiership experience written all over it. Ryan has made nine changes to the team that beat Bucuresti 27-13 last weekend and Tindall's return to the centre alongside Anthony Allen is highly significant.
"Mike is a player with whom you know exactly what you will get in big games and he never fails to deliver it," Ryan told www.gloucesterrugby.co.uk.
"Tins is a leading player for club and country, he knows his game inside out and I don't think it's fair to highlight any individual in a team who is trying to find its rhythm and style.
"He will play a significant role for us tomorrow and his experience will be crucial as the season progresses. It is great for us to have him around.
"He leads by example, has great enthusiasm and dedication and will form an exciting partnership with Anthony Allen."
Allen is one of only two members of the backline to retain his place from last Saturday. Marcel Garvey is the other after James Simpson-Daniel was deemed unfit following a blow to the head against Saracens.
Olly Morgan returns at full-back, Mark Foster comes in for Rob Thirlby on the wing and Ludovic Mercier and Peter Richards form the regular half-back partnership.
Up front, there is an all-new front row. Patrice Collazo, Mefin Davies and Gary Powell all return, while Alex Brown partners Adam Eustace at lock.
The back row is unchanged with means Peter Buxton continues as skipper on the blindside flank, Jake Boer starts at openside and Luke Narraway gets another run at number eight because of a knee injury to Adam Balding.
"We are continually working in a competitive environment and regardless of the situation, we have players really pushing for selection," Ryan added.
"We are under no illusions about the task ahead of us this weekend. Bayonne can still qualify, they will have a big set-piece, look to attack the scrum and line-out and be very physical.
"They are in pretty good form too so this is certainly not a game we can simply expect to dominate - it's going to take some hard work."
On the bench, lock Jonathan Pendlebury returns from a neck injury and is joined by hooker Rob Elloway and prop Terry Sigley, who faces his third game in seven days.
Mark Cornwell is also included, while Rob Thirlby, Haydn Thomas and Simon Amor are the three-quarter options.
There are still tickets available for tomorrow's final pool clash and they are included in the season ticket package. The ticket office will open from 9am.
GLOUCESTER (v Bayonne, tomorrow, Kingsholm 2pm): Olly Morgan, Marcel Garvey, Mike Tindall, Anthony Allen, Mark Foster, Ludovic Mercier, Peter Richards, Patrice Collazo, Mefin Davies, Gary Powell, Adam Eustace, Alex Brown, Peter Buxton (capt), Jake Boer, Luke Narraway. Reps: Rob Elloway, Terry Sigley, Jonathan Pendlebury, Mark Cornwell, Haydn Thomas, Simon Amor, Rob Thirlby.
After his last ditch try clinched the 42-40 Aviva Premiership victory over Newcastle at Kingsholm on Saturday, Billy Burns told GRTV that all the Gloucester team deserve credit for hanging in there against a Falcons team who really made life tough for the Cherry and Whites.
Speaking ahead of Saturday's Aviva Premiership fixture at home to Newcastle Falcons (kick off 3pm), Director of Rugby David Humphreys emphasised the importance this weekend of Gloucester building on last week's impressive home victory against the Exeter Chiefs.
Speaking to the assembled national and local media, try-scorer Jonny May was delighted and relieved to have tasted victory on Saturday evening, and is looking forward to the European Rugby Challenge Cup final.
Tom Savage delivered a Man of the Match performance against Exeter Chiefs on his birthday on Saturday evening. He spoke to GRTV after the game about the importance of the European Rugby Challenge Cup win.
Speaking to the local media this week, John Afoa described the hard work that the Cherry and White have been putting in and that he is fighting fit ready for Saturday's European Rugby Challenge Cup semi final clash with Exeter Chiefs.
Gloucester Rugby face Exeter Chiefs this Saturday in the European Rugby Challenge Cup semi-final, and Charlie Sharples, who starts at full back is relishing the challenge of the big Kingsholm occasion.
Gloucester Rugby return to Aviva Premiership action against the Newcastle Falcons on Saturday (Kingsholm, kick off 3pm), and make several changes to the side that defeated Exeter Chiefs at home last weekend.