RORY LAWSON has come into the Gloucester starting line-up for tomorrow's Guinness Premiership clash with Sale Sharks after Gareth Cooper injured a hamstring in training.
It was expected that the Wales scrum-half would 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).
But an injury during Friday's team-run means that Rory Lawson comes in at numebr nine and Mike Prendergast switches moves to the bench.
Marco Bortolami and flanker Akapusi Qera are both named on bench - both of whom have been in action in France for Italy and Fiji 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 Lawson, 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 Lawson, 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, Rory Lawson; 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, Mike Prendergast, Willie Walker, Iain Balshaw.
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).