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.
Fly-half Billy Burns was named Man of the Match after the 35-14 European Rugby Challenge Cup victory over Stade Rochelais on Thursday evening, and was full of praise for all his team mates for the win after a short turnaround.
Gloucester have been in good form in recent weeks, but Backs Coach Tim Taylor knows that the Cherry and Whites will have to be at their best on Thursday evening (kick off 7:45pm) against a Stade Rochelais side flying high this season.
Speaking to GRTV after the bonus point win over Bristol, back row Lewis Ludlow revealed that despite a tricky first half, Gloucester backed their skills to come through, a faith that was evident in a strong second half showing.
Willi Heinz scored Gloucester's second try as the Cherry and Whites overturned a disappointing first 40 minutes and 0-6 half time deficit, to earn a 26-18 Aviva Premiership victory over Bristol Rugby on Saturday.
Gloucester's much changed side had to overcome conceding an early try on Thursday evening, but responded in style to down Stade Rochelais by 35 points to 14 in the European Rugby Challenge Cup and set up a mouthwatering return fixture next weekend.
After taking 11 points from their last three games in the Aviva Premiership, including bonus point wins against Wasps and Bristol, Gloucester will be looking to continue their good form when they welcome La Rochelle to Kingsholm.