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.
Northampton away was the first Gloucester game under David Humphreys last season, but the Director of Rugby told the local media that the Cherry and Whites are a different proposition compared to 12 months ago and are looking forward to the challenge.
Having skippered Gloucester against the Barbarians last week, Nick Wood once again wore the captain's armband on Monday evening as Gloucester United kicked off their Aviva Premiership A League campaign with a bonus point win at Leicester.
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.
After missing out on Gloucester's two recent European fixtures, Jonny May is back on the left wing for Friday evening's Aviva Premiership fixture at Northampton, while Mariano Galarza is named in the matchday squad for the first time this season.