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.
Defence Coach Jonny Bell admitted this week that the European Rugby Challenge Cup victory in Bayonne was a welcome one, stressed that Benetton Treviso will pose a tough test on Saturday at Kingsholm but that Gloucester are determined to deliver in front of their own fans.
Motu Matu'u is looking to make up for lost time this week as the Cherry and Whites head to Basque Country to take on Bayonne in the European Rugby Challenge Cup opener. The Samoan hooker made his first appearance in the jersey last weekend, and is hoping to contribute to the team this weekend.
Gloucester's attentions turn to Europe this weekend as they travel to Bayonne for their opening fixture of this season's European Rugby Challenge Cup. Forwards Coach Trevor Woodman told GRTV that the Cherry and Whites will be aiming to top their pool as they've done for the past two seasons, but is well aware of how tough it is to win in France.
Although understandably disappointed at seeing victory slip away at the last minute, Ben Morgan said after the game at Exeter that there were plenty of positives that Gloucester could take from the game.
Speaking after a last-gasp try from Exeter earned the Chiefs a 27-27 draw at Sandy Park on Saturday, Charlie Sharples admitted to mixed feelings. The game saw him score a try on his 200th competitive appearance for the club, but the frustration from not closing out the win was clear.
David Humphreys was minutes away from a winning interview on Saturday afternoon, but a late try from Exeter Chiefs meant the points were shared at Sandy Park. Humphreys spoke with the local media after the 27-27 draw.
Speaking to the media ahead of Saturday's Aviva Premiership fixture away at Exeter Chiefs, Director of Rugby David Humphreys reiterated that there are elements of Gloucester's game that are in good shape at present, that the performance against Bath was a step forward from Newcastle but that individual errors are costing the Cherry and Whites dear.
Centre Matt Scott, a try-scorer in Bayonne last weekend, insists that Gloucester are taking nothing for granted when they welcome Benetton Treviso to Kingsholm on Saturday in the European Rugby Challenge Cup (kick off 3pm).