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.
Gloucester have been in good form in recent weeks, but Backs Coach Tim Taylor knows that the Cherry and Whites will have to be at their best on Thursday evening (kick off 7:45pm) against a Stade Rochelais side flying high this season.
Speaking to GRTV after the bonus point win over Bristol, back row Lewis Ludlow revealed that despite a tricky first half, Gloucester backed their skills to come through, a faith that was evident in a strong second half showing.
Willi Heinz scored Gloucester's second try as the Cherry and Whites overturned a disappointing first 40 minutes and 0-6 half time deficit, to earn a 26-18 Aviva Premiership victory over Bristol Rugby on Saturday.
It's the first Gloucester-Bristol derby at Kingsholm in over eight years this Saturday (kick off 4:30pm) and, previewing the game with the local media this week, Defence Coach Jonny Bell stressed that, with both teams in the bottom half of the table, they both need the points.
Speaking to the local media this week, Gloucester front rower John Afoa knows the challenge ahead this week against Bristol, and calls on the Cherry and Whites to make the most of home advantage as a determined squad look to bounce back from a narrow loss to Saracens.
Tom Savage speaks to GRTV and the local media as Gloucester went down by 24-20 at Saracens on Sunday afternoon. The second row was disappointed with the result, despite a strong showing from the hosts.
Speaking immediately after the game, skipper Willi Heinz thought that Gloucester had executed their game plan reasonably well and competed hard against Saracens. However, it wasn't enough but the squad will have plenty to work on this week ahead of the derby match against Bristol.
Having named an unchanged starting XV for the past three Aviva Premiership games, Gloucester Rugby ring the changes and retain only five players for Thursday's visit of Stade Rochelais in the European Rugby Challenge Cup (kick off 7:45pm).