Gloucester Rugby make five changes to the side that defeated Harlequins last weekend as they prepare for the Aviva Premiership fixture at Saracens on Saturday.
The Cherry and Whites will be looking to make it three wins in a row at Allianz Park having defeated Bath and Quins in their past two outings, while Saracens will be looking to bounce back from 23-64 home defeat at the hands of Wasps last Sunday.
The two teams have already met once in the Aviva Premiership this season, with Saracens edging a tight encounter at Kingsholm back in October, by 17 points to 15, thanks to a late Owen Farrell penalty.
With the Premiership games coming thick and fast, and a number of players still absent due to injury, Gloucester continue to use a rotation policy to spread the workload.
Three of the changes are in the pack, where Nick Wood, Jeremy Thrush and Ross Moriarty come in for Paddy McAllister, Tom Savage and Ben Morgan respectively.
Behind the scrum, Callum Braley gets the nod over Willi Heinz at scrum-half and Mark Atkinson will partner Billy Twelvetrees in the midfield in place of Bill Meakes.
Amongst the replacements, there is a welcome return for Henry Trinder who is back after injuring his hamstring against Harlequins on December 27th.
Following back to back wins over Bath and Harlequins, Director of Rugby David Humphreys admitted to the local media this week that spirits are high in the camp.
“There is a buzz about the camp but, in the same way that we didn’t get too down after the Leicester result, we haven’t got too carried away by how we’ve performed over the last two weeks, two great results.
“It’s good for the squad, good for the mood around the group and, most importantly, good from a confidence point of view. We’ve said for a long time that we know we can compete, but you’ve got to win some games and the last two weeks have been good for us.”
Saracens lost heavily at home to Wasps last Sunday, but Humphreys insists that Gloucester haven’t read too much into that.
“We haven’t really looked at that performance, it was one of those freak results that is very difficult to explain. I think that Wasps were outstanding on the day.
“But we’re well aware that Saracens have been the form team in Europe over the past few months. They’re a good team, they’ve huge quality and that’s why they’ve been top of the Premiership for the last few years.
“So, it’s a huge challenge for us. It’s another big test following Leicester, Bath, Harlequins. Now it’s Saracens, it almost gets harder and harder each week. But all we can do is worry about ourselves, prepare the best we can and make sure the performance this weekend is better than the one last weekend.”
Billy Burns; Charlie Sharples, Billy Twelvetrees (capt), Mark Atkinson, Steve McColl; James Hook, Callum Braley; Nick Wood, Richard Hibbard, John Afoa; Jeremy Thrush, Mariano Galarza; Ross Moriarty, Matt Kvesic, Sione Kalamafoni
Tom Lindsay, Dan Murphy, Paul Doran-Jones, Tom Savage, Jacob Rowan, Willi Heinz, Henry Trinder, Rob Cook