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.
Gloucester-Hartpury Women take on West Park Leeds Ladies in the final of the Intermediate Cup Final on Saturday. Head Coach Susie Appleby took time out to preview the game and chat about the future for the team.
Number eight Ben Morgan admitted that the 32-14 Aviva Premiership win over Bristol on Friday evening hadn't been pretty at times, but that the win was based on everyone in the squad remaining united and working for each other.
Previewing Friday evening's local derby at Bristol, Interim Head Coach Jonny Bell told the local media that Gloucester's preparations have gone well and that the whole squad is united in trying to finish the season on a high.
Speaking to GRTV this week, Acting Head Coach Jonny Bell spoke of his pleasure in the efforts and intensity in training from the squad after a tricky few weeks. The team were preparing for big games with Bristol and Cardiff in coming weeks.
Willi Heinz was understandably and visibly disappointed when he spoke to GRTV after the 27-30 home defeat to Harlequins, apologising to the home support as the game slipped away after seemingly having the game under control.
Speaking to the local media this week, Scottish centre Matt Scott spoke of the squad's determination to put in a big home performance against Harlequins, with vital points up for grabs in the hunt for a Top Six spot this Saturday (KO 3pm)
In the aftermath of the Aviva Premiership victory over Bristol, Interim Head Coach Jonny Bell was able to look forward to this weekend's European Rugby Challenge Cup quarter-final against Cardiff Blues (Kingsholm, kick off 8:05pm).