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 with the local media before the Gloucester team set off on the long trip north to Newcastle, Director of Rugby David Humphreys discussed his team selection and stated that Friday night's meeting will be a challenging one.
Speaking to the local media on Thursday, Matt Kvesic was looking forward to the trip to Newcastle Falcons, and the captain is looking to lead from the front with plenty for the Cherry and Whites to work on.
Gloucester saw a 12-0 lead overturned by Harlequins on Friday night as the visitors ran out 22-15 winners. After the game, Director of Rugby David Humphreys spoke about missed opportunities on the night.
Speaking to the local media on Thursday, James Hudson explained his excitement for tonight's game with Harlequins and that he is backing the Cherry and White squad to impress during the next set of Aviva Premiership games.
Gloucester Rugby welcomed back a set of returning internationals at the start of this week, and one of them, James Hook is pleased to be back, and ready to get back to business in a Cherry and White shirt.
After the huge success of the Darts evening in March, Gloucester Rugby and events sponsors Worthington's are pleased to present an evening with Darts Legends Eric Bristow, Keith Deller, Bobby George and Wayne Mardle hosted by Russ Bray on Tuesday 9 December.