LESLEY VAINIKOLO will start his first game since the end of September when he returns to the wing for Gloucester's Heineken Cup clash with Ulster tomorrow (8pm).
The giant winger, who scored five tries on his Guinness Premiership debut against Leeds, has recovered from a muscle problem in his neck and will line-up in a back-three alongside James Simpson-Daniel and full-back Iain Balshaw.
"The Heineken Cup is one of the reasons I am at Gloucester - I cannot wait for it," Vainikolo said. "I am feeling good - the medics have done their stuff - and now I just want to get back onto the field and get the ball in my hands.
"I have missed not being around the boys but the atmosphere is great and we are looking forward to the game. The Heineken Cup is a massive competition, Ravenhill has a fantastic reputation and it will be a huge experience."
Vainikolo returned to action with 25 minutes from the bench against Wasps in the EDF Energy Cup last weekend and there is another change in Dean Ryan's backline - Mike Tindall returns to the centre alongside Anthony Allen following soreness in his leg.
The half-back combination of Rory Lawson and Ryan Lamb remains intact, while Olly Morgan moves to the bench.
Ryan's forward pack also remains unchanged from the one that took on Wasps, which means Peter Buxton will skipper the side from the second row alongside Alex Brown.
Loose-head prop Nick Wood, hooker Olivier Azam and tight-head Carlos Nieto form the front row, while Alasdair Strokosch, Akapusi Qera and Luke Narraway form the back row.
Marco Bortolami, who missed the game at Adams Park with a shoulder injury, returns to the 22.
"We are selecting from a position of strength and although the turn-around in terms of preparation time is short, we are comfortable where we are," Ryan said.
"Some of the rugby we played against Wasps was some of the best we have played for a long time and even though we lost, we are not allowing ourselves to be too disappointed because of the level of our performance in many areas.
"We stacked up physically and were a genuine threat when in possession. We obviously didn't close the game out which was disappointing but we are not going to beat ourselves up about it because of the good things we did.
"We are relishing this contest - it is where the club wants to be in the long-term and why we finished top of the Premiership last season. It is up to us now to carry it forward."
Alongside Bortolami, Gloucester's other forward replacements are hooker Andy Titterrell, prop Christian Califano and number eight Gareth Delve.
In the backs, scrum-half Mike Prendergast, utility back Chris Paterson and Morgan are Ryan's three-quarter options.
GLOUCESTER (v Ulster, tomorrow 8pm): Iain Balshaw; James Simpson-Daniel, Mike Tindall, Anthony Allen, Lesley Vainikolo; Ryan Lamb, Rory Lawson; Nick Wood, Olivier Azam, Carlos Nieto, Peter Buxton (capt), Alex Brown, Alasdair Strokosch, Akapusi Qera, Luke Narraway. Reps: Andy Titterrell; Christian Califano, Marco Bortolami, Gareth Delve, Mike Prendergast, Chris Paterson, Olly Morgan.
As Gloucester prepare for their 39th game of the season, against Bordeaux-Begles at Sixways on Sunday, David Humphreys told the local media that this week has been all about getting the players mentally and physically ready after a tough game against Connacht last Sunday.
Speaking to GRTV after the 40-32 victory over Connacht on Sunday, skipper Billy Twelvetrees explained that Gloucester had had to learn to be patient and cut out the errors to earn the win and progress to next weekend's final play-off against Bordeaux-Begles.
Jonny May's superb late score capped a thrilling 40-32 European play-off win over Connacht on Sunday. The winger spoke afterwards of his team's character and spirit as he looked ahead to one more week of rugby.
Speaking to GRTV this afternoon, Director of Rugby David Humphreys hailed the 'never say die' attitude of the team, after despite not being at their best, fighting back to take a 40-32 win after extra time over Connacht.
Jonny May continues on the wing on Sunday as Connacht come to town, and the England wing explains to the local media this week that he is delighted with his form and is looking forward to taking on Pat Lam's men.
Following the recent announcement that XBlades were to become the club's new kit and leisurewear partner, Gloucester Rugby can today (Tuesday 30 June) confirm the opening of a new retail unit, based at Gloucester Quays Outlet Centre, as well as the launch of a brand new online shop.
When the Gloucester Rugby squad and staff report for their first day of preseason training on Wednesday morning, they will be greeted with a new look training kit from XBlades Sports ready for the first sessions.