ENGLAND sevens star Jack Adams will skipper Gloucester's Middlesex Sevens squad for Saturday's season curtain raiser at Twickenham.
Adams will lead a 12-man squad that has its emphasis on youth. The rest of the squad will be made up of emerging talent and will include winger Charlie Sharples, scrum-half Charlie Simpson-Daniel - the younger brother of England star James - and wingers Dan Norton and Henry Trinder.
The new in-take into Gloucester's Academy set-up also get an opportunity to press their chances early on.
Guy Thompson, who joined the Academy from UWIC University, is an openside flanker and will get his first senior opportunity, Tristan Roberts is a stand-off who represented Cinderford last season and Andres Pretorius is a big-hitting back row forward from Hartpury College.
Completing the squad is number eight Dan Williams, who started against Canada A last Friday, scrum-half Dave Lewis and centre Jonny May from Hartpury College.
"We have seen in the past that this competition can be used as a stepping stone into senior rugby and that is why we view it as an opportunity for these young players to go an express themselves," said Gloucester's head coach Dean Ryan.
"It will be great experience for Jack Adams to have the responsibility of skippering the team and will be significant for him and will ensure these guys come back to the club with a real buzz after taking part in a serious competition.
"In recent seasons we have done well in the Middlesex Sevens and I see no reason why that cannot continue."
Gloucester squad: Guy Thompson (1), Tristan Roberts (2), Dan Williams (3), Jack Adams (capt) (4), Andres Pretorius (5), Charlie Sharples (6), Jonny May (7), Mark Foster (8), Charlie Simpson-Daniel (9), Dan Norton (10), Dave Lewis (11), Henry Trinder (12). Team manager: Rob Burgess.
It's the first Gloucester-Bristol derby at Kingsholm in over eight years this Saturday (kick off 4:30pm) and, previewing the game with the local media this week, Defence Coach Jonny Bell stressed that, with both teams in the bottom half of the table, they both need the points.
Speaking to the local media this week, Gloucester front rower John Afoa knows the challenge ahead this week against Bristol, and calls on the Cherry and Whites to make the most of home advantage as a determined squad look to bounce back from a narrow loss to Saracens.
Tom Savage speaks to GRTV and the local media as Gloucester went down by 24-20 at Saracens on Sunday afternoon. The second row was disappointed with the result, despite a strong showing from the hosts.
Speaking immediately after the game, skipper Willi Heinz thought that Gloucester had executed their game plan reasonably well and competed hard against Saracens. However, it wasn't enough but the squad will have plenty to work on this week ahead of the derby match against Bristol.
Gloucester may be coming off their best win of the season, the 38-16 victory over Wasps last weekend, but Director of Rugby David Humphreys admits that Sunday's trip to Saracens is an even tougher test.
After a series of contract announcements last week, hooker Richard Hibbard is the latest Gloucester Rugby player to commit to a new contract at the club and told GRTV how much he enjoys playing in the Cherry and White of Gloucester.
Talk about a game of two halves. Things looked grim on Saturday as Gloucester trailed 0-6 to Bristol at half-time. However, Matt Scott's eighth try of the season got Gloucester off and running, and the visitors fell apart as the Cherry and Whites eased to a 26-18 bonus point Aviva Premiership win.