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 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.
After taking 11 points from their last three games in the Aviva Premiership, including bonus point wins against Wasps and Bristol, Gloucester will be looking to continue their good form when they welcome La Rochelle to Kingsholm.
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).