Speaking to the media ahead of Saturday's EDF Energy Cup final, Gloucester Rugby Head Coach Dean Ryan stressed that he would allow key injured players as long as possible to recover.
Centre Mike Tindall and winger Iain Balshaw have both been absent in recent weeks and Ryan, when asked about their status, stated that he will leave a decision until the last possible minute but won't risk long term fitness for short term gain.
Quizzed about Tindall initially:
I think it'll be a late call. He's rehabbing. He is getting better, but it will be a late call."
"Balshaw's probably the same as Tins. If at all, it'll be a late call. He's been rehabbing for most of the week and, if either Tindall or Balshaw are accelerated in any way, then they've got a chance for the weekend."
"We'll give both players as long as possible to be available."
"It does affect preparation. With someone like Tindall, I don't think we've ever been in a final or a playoff final with him."
"He's hugely influential to us and the merits of him dropping in on a Friday or a Saturday certainly outweigh any disruption."
"We wouldn't do it with everybody but certainly, for someone of Tindall's influence, we would."
"He's a key decision maker in whichever side he plays, whether that be England or Gloucester. So, we'll leave it as long as possible before we have to make that call."
"But, we're not going to take risks with people going into this game when we look at the magnitude of the Guinness Premiership games to come."
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.
Skipper Billy Twelvetrees, speaking to GRTV after the 35-10 over Zebre, was happy with the bonus point win over the Italian side but admitted Gloucester will need to tighten up for the return fixture in Parma.
Matt Kvesic was a try scorer and recipient of the Man of the Match award in Sunday's 35-10 European Rugby Challenge Cup win over Zebre. He praised the Italian side for their spirited opposition and admitted that next week's return game will be a tough one.