HE MIGHT be 20-years of age with only 23 senior appearances under his belt in all competitions, but Anthony Allen is relishing the 'fantastic, unbelievable' news he will make his England debut against New Zealand on Sunday.
The Gloucester centre has been named alongside Newcastle's Jamie Noon in England's midfield for their opening autumn international against the All Blacks and he said: "It is obviously a fantastic feeling - pretty unbelievable - and I don't think the news will have time to sink in between now and Sunday.
"It has obviously come around very quickly for me - at the start of the season I was just concentrating on establishing myself at Gloucester - so to be selected for England so quickly is something very special.
"All I can do now is be as professional as I can, keep my head down, listen to the experienced people I have around me and prepare as well as I can for this game.
"It's obviously a massive challenge and to play for your country is fantastic but I just have to concentrate on getting all the small margins in my game right, relax and do a good job.
"The England coaches said my game stepped up against Leinster and again at the weekend as well. They think I am playing well and have picked me on form."
Allen, a former Millfield School pupil, has made eight appearances this season and has scored four tries, including two in Gloucester's Heineken Cup defeat against Agen on Saturday.
He will be joined in the starting line-up by his Gloucester team-mate Iain Balshaw at full-back.
Gloucester recorded a 32-20 win over La Rochelle on Thursday evening, and second row Jeremy Thrush was thrilled to pick up the victory on his first taste of a trip to France and the hostile atmosphere.
Gloucester were forced to battle for their 33-20 victory in La Rochelle on Thursday evening, something that centre Bill Meakes said that he and the squad were well prepared for as well as thanking the travelling support for the part they played.
Gloucester got off to a winning start in the European Rugby Challenge Cup last weekend, but Head Coach Laurie Fisher is expecting a much tougher challenge when the Cherry and Whites travel to La Rochelle for Thursday night's Round Two encounter.
Dan Thomas was a try scorer in the 14-62 defeat at the hands of the Barbarians on Tuesday evening, but told GRTV after the game that he'd really enjoyed taking on the Barbarians and locking horns with Ardie Savea at the breakdown.
After a long, hard battle to return to fitness, Henry Trinder made his long awaited comeback in the second half of the 23-10 win over Zebre on Saturday and admitted he was taken aback by the reception he got from the Kingsholm crowd.
21 year old number eight Lewis Ludlow formed part of a physical back row effort in the 23-10 European Rugby Challenge Cup over Zebre on Saturday. Speaking to GRTV after the game, he spoke of making the most of his chances and being happy to contribute to the Gloucester win.
Gloucester United kick off their Aviva Premiership A League campaign against Leicester Tigers at Welford Road on Monday evening (kick off 7pm) and have named a side which features lots of first team experience.