Andy Hazell is preparing himself for an 'immensely physical' west country derby on Sunday - but has vowed Gloucester will not under-estimate the threat of current Guinness Premiership leaders Bristol.
With victories over Bath and Newcastle already to their name, the Premiership's newest club have made a super-charged start to life in the top flight and more fireworks are expected at the Memorial Stadium against their rivals from up the M5.
Hazell will be one of the key figures in Gloucester's forward pack and told www.gloucesterrugby.co.uk. "One thing for sure is that we know it's going to be immensely physical.
"We will not take anything lightly and we know will have to mix it. Bristol have done exceptionally well and won two very important matches. We will respect what they have achieved but go out there and give it everything.
"Generally, not a lot of rugby is played in local derbies but picking up points is the key and that is what we aim to do."
Head coach Dean Ryan has made just one change to the side that beat Sale Sharks 21-18 last weekend. Hooker Mefin Davies comes into the front row in place of Olivier Azam, who takes a turn on the bench.
England centre Mike Tindall is fit to resume his centre partnership with Henry Paul after he limped out of the win over the Sharks with a hip injury. There is still no place for James Simpson-Daniel because of his ankle complaint.
Scrum-half Haydn Thomas gets another chance to impress following his first start last weekend and keeps Peter Richards on the bench, while Rob Thirlby and Mark Foster share the wing roles with Jon Goodridge at full-back.
Bristol have won their past four league matches at the Memorial Stadium since losing to Penzance & Newlyn in February. However, they have only beaten Gloucester once in their past 14 meetings in all competitions, 18-9 in the Premiership in January 2001.
"All we can do is keep building the points and the performances will come," Hazell said. "Dean Ryan has told us to be patient because the performances will improve.
"Bristol have made a fantastic start and will relish the thought of us going down there."
GLOUCESTER v (Bristol, Memorial Stadium, Sunday 3pm): Jon Goodridge; Mark Foster, Mike Tindall, Henry Paul, Rob Thirlby; Ludovic Mercier, Haydn Thomas; Patrice Collazo, Mefin Davies, Phil Vickery (capt), Adam Eustace, Alex Brown, Peter Buxton, Andy Hazell, James Forrester. Reps: Olivier Azam, Gary Powell, Mark Cornwell, Jake Boer, Peter Richards, Duncan McRae, Jack Adams.
Speaking after Gloucester's final preseason friendly, a 29-24 defeat away at Scarlets, Director of Rugby David Humphreys reflected upon a performance that will form a crucial part of the Cherry and Whites preparations for the Aviva Premiership opener at Northampton next week.
Speaking to the media after the 45-8 preseason friendly victory over Munster, Director of Rugby David Humphreys wasn't getting too carried away, admitting that his team are making progress but that there's still a way to go.
Billy Twelvetrees spoke to Gloucester Rugby TV on Friday ahead of the pre season friendly with Munster Rugby. The club captain is excited to be back in the action at Kingsholm and experience the atmosphere again.
Gloucester Rugby Director of Rugby David Humphreys spoke to the local media after the 62-19 victory over Yorkshire Carnegie, and showed his delight at the first run out and stated there was still lots to work on ahead of the new season
Mark Atkinson made his first appearance in Cherry and White in the pre season victory over Yorkshire Carnegie on Saturday. Speaking to the local media, he was impressed with the first experience of Kingsholm.
Gloucester Rugby kick off their Aviva Premiership campaign at Northampton Saints on Friday evening, and then return home to entertain the same opponent in the A League at Kingsholm on Monday September 8th.
Gloucester Rugby travelled to West Wales for their third and final preseason game ahead of the start of the Aviva Premiership next week. The Scarlets were the opposition and Gloucester left Parc y Scarlets on the wrong end of a 29-24 scoreline.