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, Richard Hibbard expressed his excitement ahead of the West Country derby and that there is an extra spring in the step of the Cherry and Whites ahead of the tough challenge.
With such a short turnaround between the two games, and Gloucester looking to reintegrate several players into the line-up after the Autumn international series, Tom Savage told GRTV that the Cherry and Whites will keep changes to a minimum for the European Rugby Challenge Cup game in Zebre on Saturday.
Gloucester travel to Italy this weekend to take on Zebre in Round Four of the European Rugby Challenge Cup. The Cherry and Whites defeated the Italian side 35-10 last Sunday, but Director of Rugby David Humphreys is looking for an improved performance in the return fixture.
Skipper Billy Twelvetrees, speaking to GRTV after the 35-10 over Zebre, was happy with the bonus point win over the Italian side but admitted Gloucester will need to tighten up for the return fixture in Parma.
Gloucester Rugby welcome Sione Kalamafoni, Greig Laidlaw and Tom Palmer back to the starting line up and feature David Halaifonua in a matchday squad for the first time, as they resume Aviva Premiership action against Bath Rugby at Kingsholm on Saturday (kick off 5:30pm).