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.
Speaking to the local media this week, Richard Hibbard expressed his excitement ahead of the West Country derby and that there is an extra spring in the step of the Cherry and Whites ahead of the tough challenge.
With such a short turnaround between the two games, and Gloucester looking to reintegrate several players into the line-up after the Autumn international series, Tom Savage told GRTV that the Cherry and Whites will keep changes to a minimum for the European Rugby Challenge Cup game in Zebre on Saturday.
Gloucester travel to Italy this weekend to take on Zebre in Round Four of the European Rugby Challenge Cup. The Cherry and Whites defeated the Italian side 35-10 last Sunday, but Director of Rugby David Humphreys is looking for an improved performance in the return fixture.
On a tough evening at Kingsholm, Gloucester could escape neither a suffocating Bath defence, nor the whistle of referee Greg Garner as six penalties and a penalty try paved the way to a 39-16 win for the visitors.
Gloucester Rugby welcome Sione Kalamafoni, Greig Laidlaw and Tom Palmer back to the starting line up and feature David Halaifonua in a matchday squad for the first time, as they resume Aviva Premiership action against Bath Rugby at Kingsholm on Saturday (kick off 5:30pm).