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 to the local media this week ahead of the Bath Rugby game, Head Coach Laurie Fisher stressed that the fundamental shape of Gloucester's game is in good shape but that the Cherry and Whites have to look after the ball better and make more of their scoring opportunities.
Skipper for the day Willi Heinz faced the cameras after the 13-18 home loss to Newcastle and expressed real frustration at not being able to back up last week's win at Sale, calling it a performance he and his team-mates are not proud of.
Speaking after the game, Charlie Sharples described it as 'the win that has eluded us.' The winger stressed that Gloucester had stayed positive after the first couple of weeks of the Aviva Premiership season and the 26-13 victory over Sale was a result of that focus.
Gloucester Rugby picked up their first win of the new Aviva Premiership season on Friday night, easing to a 26-13 win on the road at Sale Sharks. Director of Rugby David Humphreys was full of praise for his players on the night.
Greig Laidlaw is back to skipper Gloucester Rugby in Saturday's Aviva Premiership derby game against Bath Rugby at Kingsholm. James Hook will make his first start of the season at full-back and Billy Twelvetrees will make his 100th competitive appearance for the club.