MIKE TINDALL will lead Gloucester into their final pre-season game against Glasgow Warriors at Kingsholm tomorrow (2pm).
The England centre will skipper a powerful side and will welcome back stand-off Ryan Lamb, winger Iain Balshaw and full-back Olly Morgan to the three-quarter line and number eight Luke Narraway and openside flanker Andy Hazell to the forward pack.
It will be Gloucester's third pre-season game and following a victory over Canada A and a defeat against Bayonne last Tuesday, head coach Dean Ryan is looking for an improved performance ahead of their opening Guinness Premiership match against Leicester next Sunday.
"There is a great atmosphere and unity amongst the squad," Ryan said. "We have made it very clear that pre-season is based on performance and maximising what we can achieve from new combinations and relationships.
"But we have the opportunity to re-introduce some senior players tomorrow and that is pretty key moving forward. We have worked very hard in pre-season but we obviously want to see an improvement from the Bayonne game and we have the personnel in place to do that."
Up front, Nick Wood will be partnered by hooker Andy Titterrell and tight-head prop Carlos Nieto. Will James gets an opportunity to partner Alex Brown at lock, while Hazell, Peter Buxton and Narraway form the back row.
For Hazell and Narraway it will be their first appearances of the season. On the bench, Ryan will include hooker Olivier Azam, prop Dave Young, lock Marco Bortolami and flanker Alasdair Strokosch.
Behind the scrum, Gloucester have plenty of cutting edge. Scrum-half Gareth Cooper gets the nod in a half-back partnership with Lamb - who missed the Bayonne game with illness.
Tindall will lead the side from outside centre in a partnership with Anthony Allen, while Iain Balshaw, Lesley Vainikolo and Olly Morgan are the back three.
"Pre-season is about getting your best players available and at a level available for Leicester in the Guinness Premiership," Ryan added. "Tomorrow is a continuation of that process and I think we are in pretty good shape.
"It is important we keep moving forward so we are ready for the start of the Guinness Premiership.
Ryan's three-quarter replacements are scrum-half Rory Lawson, utility back Willie Walker, centre Matthew Watkins and winger James Simpson-Daniel.
GLOUCESTER (v Glasgow, tomorrow, 2pm): Olly Morgan; Iain Balshaw, Mike Tindall (capt), Anthony Allen, Lesley Vainikolo, Ryan Lamb, Gareth Cooper; Nick Wood, Andy Titterrell, Carlos Nieto, Will James, Alex Brown, Peter Buxton, Andy Hazell, Luke Narraway. Reps: Olivier Azam, Dave Young, Marco Bortolami, Alasdair Strokosch, Rory Lawson, Willie Walker, Matthew Watkins, James Simpson-Daniel.
The Gloucester Rugby Park & Ride facility from British Energy will still be operational for the next 2 home games (Glasgow and Leicester Tigers) even though road works will still be in place.
The park and ride will run from 12noon until kick off and recommence 15 minutes after final whistle for an hour and a half to the Barnwood site.
Supporters are reminded that tomorrow's game is included in the season ticket package.
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.
Skipper Billy Twelvetrees, speaking to GRTV after the 35-10 over Zebre, was happy with the bonus point win over the Italian side but admitted Gloucester will need to tighten up for the return fixture in Parma.
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).