GLOUCESTER have been handed a major boost ahead of their trip to Leicester on Saturday with the news that Mefin Davies is available for selection following international duty with Wales.
Head coach Dean Ryan had it confirmed on Tuesday that he would definitely have his first choice number two for the trip to Welford Road after International Rugby Board regulations stated clubs must release players for three international games in the autumn period, and Wales chose the All Blacks, South Africa and Australia.
Wales are scheduled to play Fiji on Friday and that leaves the way clear for Davies to resume Guinness Premiership action against the Tigers.
"It is outstanding news for us and we are delighted to have a player of Mefin's ability available for selection," Ryan told www.gloucesterrugby.co.uk. "Mefin is the sort of player who gives us tremendous accuracy in any environment and is someone who doesn't buckle under pressure.
"He knows what it is to function under pressure in a ground like Welford Road and that ability will be very important to us this weekend."
Davies will come back into contention alongside James Parkes, who did an excellent job against Newcastle last Saturday. Ryan will also have Rob Elloway available which gives him plenty of options.
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.
On a tough evening at Kingsholm, Gloucester could escape neither a suffocating Bath defence, nor the whistle of referee Greg Garner as six penalties and a penalty try paved the way to a 39-16 win for the visitors.
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).