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.
Jonny May's superb late score capped a thrilling 40-32 European play-off win over Connacht on Sunday. The winger spoke afterwards of his team's character and spirit as he looked ahead to one more week of rugby.
Speaking to GRTV this afternoon, Director of Rugby David Humphreys hailed the 'never say die' attitude of the team, after despite not being at their best, fighting back to take a 40-32 win after extra time over Connacht.
Jonny May continues on the wing on Sunday as Connacht come to town, and the England wing explains to the local media this week that he is delighted with his form and is looking forward to taking on Pat Lam's men.
Speaking to the local media this week, front rower John Afoa is familiar with the challenge of Connacht from his time in Belfast, and the World Cup winner is fully aware of the challenge they pose ahead of Sunday's meeting in the Champions Cup play off
Speaking ahead of Gloucester's European Rugby Champions play-off against Connacht on Sunday (Kingsholm, 3:30pm), Director of Rugby David Humphreys admitted that he's glad to have more players available than in recent weeks ahead of a tough fixture.
Nick Wood captained the Cherry and Whites on Saturday afternoon, and the experienced front rower expressed his pride in the young squad in defeat to Bath on the final day of the Aviva Premiership season.
Lewis Ludlow scored Gloucester's opening try in the 30-50 defeat at Bath on Saturday, part of an impressive performance by the young back row forward. Speaking after the game, he paid tribute to the young Gloucester side who went toe to toe with the Aviva Premiership semi-finalists.
Speaking to the local media after the game, Director of Rugby David Humphreys gave an honest assessment of the game, and expressed his pride in the way his young charges had performed against the title-chasing hosts.
Speaking to the local media this week, Gloucester Rugby scrum half Callum Braley is excited by the challenge of the West Country Derby, and the ex-Bristol man reveals the squad will be giving their all.
It was a thriller at Kingsholm on Sunday afternoon, as Gloucester snatched victory from the jaws of defeat, leveling the scores in the final minute before triumphing in extra time over a spirited Connacht side.
Having defeated Connacht Rugby in dramatic fashion in the first play-off for the final spot in the 2015-16 European Rugby Champions Cup, Gloucester Rugby can confirm ticketing details for next Sunday's game against Bordeaux-Begles at Sixways.
Gloucester snatched victory from the jaws of defeat and move on to next weekend's European Champions Cup final play-off against Bordeaux-Begles after a dramatic extra time win over a valiant Connacht side.