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.
Jonny May's superb late score capped a thrilling 40-32 European play-off win over Connacht on Sunday. The winger spoke afterwards of his team's character and spirit as he looked ahead to one more week of rugby.
Speaking to GRTV this afternoon, Director of Rugby David Humphreys hailed the 'never say die' attitude of the team, after despite not being at their best, fighting back to take a 40-32 win after extra time over Connacht.
Jonny May continues on the wing on Sunday as Connacht come to town, and the England wing explains to the local media this week that he is delighted with his form and is looking forward to taking on Pat Lam's men.
Speaking to the local media this week, front rower John Afoa is familiar with the challenge of Connacht from his time in Belfast, and the World Cup winner is fully aware of the challenge they pose ahead of Sunday's meeting in the Champions Cup play off
Speaking ahead of Gloucester's European Rugby Champions play-off against Connacht on Sunday (Kingsholm, 3:30pm), Director of Rugby David Humphreys admitted that he's glad to have more players available than in recent weeks ahead of a tough fixture.
Nick Wood captained the Cherry and Whites on Saturday afternoon, and the experienced front rower expressed his pride in the young squad in defeat to Bath on the final day of the Aviva Premiership season.
Lewis Ludlow scored Gloucester's opening try in the 30-50 defeat at Bath on Saturday, part of an impressive performance by the young back row forward. Speaking after the game, he paid tribute to the young Gloucester side who went toe to toe with the Aviva Premiership semi-finalists.
Speaking to the local media after the game, Director of Rugby David Humphreys gave an honest assessment of the game, and expressed his pride in the way his young charges had performed against the title-chasing hosts.
Speaking to the local media this week, Gloucester Rugby scrum half Callum Braley is excited by the challenge of the West Country Derby, and the ex-Bristol man reveals the squad will be giving their all.
At the recent London Irish game, personnel from the Imjin Barracks in Innsworth, including Gurkhas, were present, holding a collection to raise funds for ShelterBox to aid relief from the recent Nepal Earthquake Appeal.
It was a thriller at Kingsholm on Sunday afternoon, as Gloucester snatched victory from the jaws of defeat, leveling the scores in the final minute before triumphing in extra time over a spirited Connacht side.