ANTHONY ALLEN is determined to make the most of first team opportunity when he faces Bristol in the Powergen Cup on Sunday (3pm).
The vastly gifted former Millfield student will line-up against Gloucester's west country rivals in the centre following a series of sparkling performances in the Guinness A League.
And he hopes a solid performance can act as a springboard into the Premiership and European Challenge Cup teams later on this season.
Head coach Dean Ryan has made 11 positional and personnel changes to the side that began the competition with a victory over the Ospreys last weekend.
There is a complete alteration to the front row where Phil Vickery, Olivier Azam and Patrice Collazo are recalled in place of Gary Powell, Mefin Davies and Nick Wood.
Vickery will skipper the side and will make his first appearance since damaging his shoulder against Bristol in Gloucester's 41-9 victory at the Memorial Stadium last month in the Premiership.
Mark Cornwell gets the chance to partner Adam Eustace in the second row in place of Alex Brown, while Luke Narraway, a gifted footballing number eight, gets an opportunity in place of James Forrester, while Peter Buxton comes in for Andy Hazell.
In the backs, Ryan has also used his rotational system and named Peter Richards at scrum-half in place of Haydn Thomas. Marcel Garvey wins his first senior start of the campaign, while Terry Fanolua, out of action following knee surgery before the start of the season, partners Allen in the centre.
Rob Thirlby is preferred at full-back to Jon Goodridge to complete 11 alterations to the side that won last weekend.
But Allen cannot wait for the challenge and told www.gloucesterrugby.co.uk. "It will be a great opportunity and a great experience for me.
"Bristol have named a very good team but I hope this could be the step for something even bigger like the Premiership. I think I have been playing pretty well in the A League and I am really looking forward to it.
"I like to think I don't get too worried about things and will just try and relax. I am looking forward to playing against better opposition and enjoying the occasion.
"Since coming out of schoolboy rugby the learning curve has been so quick. The tackles are bigger and harder, the pace is quicker and it's a massive step up.
"But I said from the start I wanted to test myself and improve and that is what I am trying to do."
GLOUCESTER v Bristol, Sunday, Memorial Stadium 3pm: Rob Thirlby; James Simpson-Daniel, Terry Fanolua, Anthony Allen, Marcel Garvey; Ludovic Mercier, Peter Richards; Patrice Collazo, Olivier Azam, Phil Vickery (capt), Adam Eustace, Mark Cornwell, Peter Buxton, Jake Boer, Luke Narraway. Reps: Mefin Davies, Nick Wood, Alex Brown, Andy Hazell, Haydn Thomas, Brad Davies, Henry Paul.
Henry Purdy, a first half replacement for Charlie Sharples, was amongst the try scorers in the 64-19 victory over Aviron Bayonnais on Saturday evening and told GRTV that it was a professional performance, one the team are happy with.
Gloucester's win in Treviso last week means that they need a bonus point win against Bayonne on Saturday evening to secure a home quarter-final (kick off 8pm), but Tim Taylor wants the team to focus on the performance first and foremost.
Billy Burns and Man of the Match Richard Hibbard spoke to GRTV after the 41-0 win in Treviso, on a day when preparations weren't ideal. They felt the team's attitude was key and also praised the travelling support.
After the recent European exploits, it's more cup action for Gloucester this weekend, but it's of a domestic variety as the Cherry and Whites travel to Bath on Friday evening to resume their Anglo-Welsh Cup campaign.