WALES scrum-half Gareth Cooper will make his first start for Gloucester tomorrow as head coach Dean Ryan welcomes back three more players from World Cup duty for the visit of Sale Sharks (3pm).
Cooper came off the bench against Leicester last week and tomorrow will be joined by Marco Bortolami, flanker Akapusi Qera and scrum-half Rory Lawson for the visit of the Sharks - all of whom will start from the bench after action in France for Italy, Fiji and Scotland respectively.
Head coach Dean Ryan has again made changes to his starting XV from the one that beat Leicester 30-17 last Saturday that maintained Gloucester at the head of the Guinness Premiership table.
Nick Wood comes in at loose-head in place of Patrice Collazo and Andy Titterrell will face his former club from the number two position in place of Olivier Azam.
At second row, Will James replaces Peter Buxton in the number four shirt and will partner Alex Brown which means Peter Buxton retains to the blindside flank. Andy Hazell's rib injury rules him out so Alasdair Strokosch wears the number seven shirt.
Alongside Cooper, Ryan Lamb returns at number 10 in place of Willie Walker, who moves to the bench. Lamb was named the Guinness Premiership's player of the month last week.
"We have always said we will select a side we believe is right for each individual game," said head coach Ryan. "But it doesn't matter who we select, it is up to us to impose our game on the opposition.
"If we can create some fluidity then I think we can be dangerous. We created opportunities last week we didn't finish off and that is something we are looking to rectify.
"Our squad is getting stronger all the time and our returning World Cup players are key to that process. It is up to them to fit in with what we are trying to build - we have made a very encouraging start and that is something we want to maintain.
"Sale are a very good side, who will look to pressurise us with high field position and a World class number 10 in Charlie Hodgson. We must be ready for that challenge and rise to it."
Outside Lamb and Cooper, Anthony Allen and Mike Tindall are the centres, while James Bailey, Leon Lloyd and Olly Morgan are the back three.
James Simpson-Daniel (hamstring) and Lesley Vainikolo (neck) are not available for selection.
Gloucester's bench is considerably strong with Azam and Christian Califano the front row replacements, Bortolami and Qera the back five options. Lawson, Willie Walker and Iain Balshaw, who returns after a groin injury, are the three-quarter permutations.
"I think we are playing some good rugby but we are looking at areas for improvement," Ryan added. "We must look to enhance what we offer as a unit - and that is what we will try and do this weekend."
TICKETS for Gloucester's game against Sale tomorrow are still available for every section of the stadium and can be obtained from the ticket office at Kingsholm or from the hotline number on 0871 871 8781 (option 2).
GLOUCESTER (v Sale Sharks, tomorrow, 3pm): Olly Morgan; Leon Lloyd, Mike Tindall, Anthony Allen, James Bailey; Ryan Lamb, Gareth Cooper; Nick Wood, Andy Titterrell, Carlos Nieto, Will James, Alex Brown, Peter Buxton (capt), Alasdair Strokosch, Luke Narraway. Reps: Olivier Azam, Christian Califano, Marco Bortolami, Akapusi Qera, Rory Lawson, Willie Walker, Iain Balshaw.
Gloucester-Hartpury Women take on West Park Leeds Ladies in the final of the Intermediate Cup at Royal Wootton Bassett RFC on Saturday. Rebecca de Filippo and Gemma Sharples took time out from training to preview the game.
Speaking to the local media this week, front row forward John Afoa spoke of the squad's targets for this weekend's European Rugby Challenge Cup Quarter Final with Cardiff Blues at Kingsholm. Despite taking on new opponents, the squad know the focus is on themselves to get the job done as knockout rugby kicks in.
Gloucester-Hartpury Women take on West Park Leeds Ladies in the final of the Intermediate Cup Final on Saturday. Head Coach Susie Appleby took time out to preview the game and chat about the future for the team.
Number eight Ben Morgan admitted that the 32-14 Aviva Premiership win over Bristol on Friday evening hadn't been pretty at times, but that the win was based on everyone in the squad remaining united and working for each other.
Previewing Friday evening's local derby at Bristol, Interim Head Coach Jonny Bell told the local media that Gloucester's preparations have gone well and that the whole squad is united in trying to finish the season on a high.
Speaking to GRTV this week, Acting Head Coach Jonny Bell spoke of his pleasure in the efforts and intensity in training from the squad after a tricky few weeks. The team were preparing for big games with Bristol and Cardiff in coming weeks.
Willi Heinz was understandably and visibly disappointed when he spoke to GRTV after the 27-30 home defeat to Harlequins, apologising to the home support as the game slipped away after seemingly having the game under control.
In the aftermath of the Aviva Premiership victory over Bristol, Interim Head Coach Jonny Bell was able to look forward to this weekend's European Rugby Challenge Cup quarter-final against Cardiff Blues (Kingsholm, kick off 8:05pm).