30 September 2005
Gloucester's head coach Dean Ryan has named a side containing five full internationals for the visit of the Ospreys in the Powergen Cup at Kingsholm tomorrow (2.30pm).
England centre Mike Tindall will skipper the home side and will be joined by Henry Paul, James Simpson-Daniel, Andy Hazell and Welsh hooker Mefin Davies.
Ryan has made four three changes to the team that started in the victory over Northampton Saints in the Premiership last weekend.
Scrum-half Peter Richards is replaced by Haydn Thomas, Jon Goodridge is preferred to Rob Thirlby at full-back, Andy Hazell comes in at openside for Jake Boer, who switches to six in place of Peter Buxton, while Nick Wood replaces Patrice Collazo at loosehead.
"We are still at a stage where we are proving what we are all about as a squad and we have an opportunity to do that against some pretty illustrious opponents this weekend who have a number of internationals and are the Celtic League winners," Ryan said.
"There may have been a change in emphasis with regard to the competition but we are taking it very seriously and looking forward to the challenge.
"It will be a competitive environment against a good side and we are very much looking forward to it this weekend."
Wood will be partnered in the front row by Davies and tighthead prop Gary Powell. The recognised second row combination of Adam Eustace and Alex Brown are once again paired together while Boer, Andy Hazell and James Forrester form the back row.
The backline also takes on a familiar feel with Henry Paul partnering Mike Tindall in the centre and Mark Foster and James Simpson-Daniel on the wings.
Ludovic Mercier will link up with Thomas and Goodridge starts at full-back.
Adam Balding, Gloucester's injured skipper, added: "We are taking this competition very seriously but playing the Ospreys will be a tough opener. We have put everything into training this week to make sure we keep our unbeaten record this season.
"We have made a good start and want to keep the momentum going."
GLOUCESTER v (Ospreys, Kingsholm, Saturday 2.30pm): Jon Goodridge; Mark Foster, Mike Tindall (capt), Henry Paul, James Simpson-Daniel; Ludovic Mercier, Haydn Thomas; Nick Wood, Mefin Davies, Gary Powell, Adam Eustace, Alex Brown, Jake Boer, Andy Hazell, James Forrester. Reps: Terry Sigley, Olivier Azam, Mark Cornwell, Luke Narraway, Peter Richards, Brad Davies, Rob Thirlby.