Aviva Premiership: Gloucester host Worcester at Kingsholm
Last Updated: 22/12/13 10:32am
Gloucester aim to end a five-match Aviva Premiership losing run against Worcester at Kingsholm on Sunday.
Gloucester's only home win in the Premiership so far this season remains a 26-24 success over Northampton in Round Three and they are still without a victory in the competition since beating Newcastle 22-16 on September 29.
But opponents Worcester Warriors are in a run which has seen just one win in their last 20 matches in all competitions, a 21-16 success at Cardiff Blues in the Anglo-Welsh Cup on November 8.
Gloucester coach Nigel Davies knows that bottom side Warriors, although still looking for their first win in the competition, have been competitive in most of their games to date.
"It's going to be a difficult encounter for us because you look at Worcester, and how they've played, and they've been in games for long periods before falling away late."
"It's going to be a difficult encounter for us because you look at Worcester, and how they've played, and they've been in games for long periods before falling away late," he said.
"They'll be a tough nut to crack, and we have to be in the right frame of mind, which means not just being physically ready for the challenge but also being prepared to play rugby, our style of rugby."
Billy Twelvetrees will continue to captain Gloucester in the absence of club captain Tom Savage who has undergone surgery on a pectoral injury.
On Sunday, he will lead the side from the fly-half position, with Freddie Burns named amongst the replacements.
Mike Tindall will partner Henry Trinder in midfield, with Charlie Sharples also returning to the starting line-up.
Nick Wood is back at loose head prop, and Tongan international Sila Puafisi will make his first full start at tight head.
In the back row, Matt Cox and Matt Kvesic will line up against their former club. Cox comes in for Sione Kalamafoni who picked up an ankle injury against Edinburgh last weekend.
Meanwhile, centurions full-back Chris Pennell and outside centre Alex Grove will return to Warriors' starting line-up.
The duo, who both signed contract extensions at Sixways earlier this month, are named in the backline after being rested for last week's trip to Biarritz.
Director of Rugby Dean Ryan makes nine changes to the side which travelled to France. Ofa Fainga'anuku, Chris Brooker and Rob O'Donnell return in the front-row, while James Percival and Mariano Galarza are recalled to the second row.
Captain Jonathan Thomas will start at number eight and there could also be a return to action for Argentinian international Leonardo Senatore, who is handed a place on the bench.
James Stephenson is the only other change in the backline as Warriors go to Kingsholm looking to close the gap on their local rivals.
Ryan said: "I asked a lot of people to put their hands up last week and I was really pleased with how well some people did. It has given me more choice in terms of this weekend's selection.
"In reality, winning would be a huge lift. I think it would be a catalyst and reward for the progress the players are making."