GLOUCESTER will hand a first team debut to centre Matthew Watkins tonight when they start their pre-season preparations against Canada A.
The former Llanelli and Wales star will form a midfield partnership alongside Anthony Allen as Gloucester assess their options at the end of their training camp in Canada.
Head coach Dean Ryan and his coaching staff will also hand opportunities to winger Charlie Sharples, number eight Dan Williams and prop Jack Forster.
Although the final make-up of the bench has yet to be confirmed, James Forrester will return to the squad for the first time in more than a year following serious knee trouble and he will be joined by former Bath Academy and England Under-18 stand-off Freddie Burns.
Up front, Nick Wood has recovered from a summer operation on his wrist to partner hooker Olivier Azam and Forster in the front row.
Will James and Alex Brown start at lock, while Alasdair Strokosch, Andy Hazell and Williams are the starting back row.
Gareth Cooper and Willie Walker are the half-back combination and alongside Sharples, Mark Foster and full-back Olly Morgan complete the back three.
Gloucester also face Glasgow on Saturday, August 30 (2pm) and the match is included in the season ticket package.
GLOUCESTER (v Canada A, midnight BST): Olly Morgan; Mark Foster, Matthew Watkins, Anthony Allen, Charlie Sharples; Willie Walker, Gareth Cooper; Nick Wood, Olivier Azam, Jack Forster, Will James, Alex Brown, Alasdair Strokosch, Andy Hazell, Dan Williams. Reps to be named.
Speaking to the media following the 31-33 West Country Challenge Cup defeat to Exeter Chiefs at the Memorial Stadium, Director of Rugby David Humphreys was full of praise for his side's battling qualities in a bruising encounter but concerned about the injuries picked up.
The West Country Challenge Cup fixture against the Exeter Chiefs at the Memorial Stadium in Bristol on Saturday (kick off 3pm) will be Gloucester's last chance to work on things like new combinations says Director of Rugby, David Humphreys.
Speaking after the 30-21 West Country Challenge Cup defeat at Bath, Director of Rugby David Humphreys spoke of the improvements his team are making as preseason progresses but acknowledges that there is still work to do ahead of the start of the Aviva Premiership.
Speaking to the local media ahead of Saturday's trip to Bath Rugby in the West Country Challenge Cup, front rower Nick Wood spoke of the hard work put in across the extended preseason and highlighted the competition for front row spots in the squad.
Gloucester have named a 30 man squad for the latest round of West Country Challenge Cup action against Bath on Saturday, with Director of Rugby David Humphreys stressing the need to keep an eye on player workload ahead of what will be a long, tough season.
Describing the 50-7 West Country Challenge Cup win over Bath on Sunday as a '...good hit out...', wing Charlie Sharples admitted that it had been a good opportunity to put into practice things that the squad have been trying out in training in recent weeks.
Speaking to the local media after the 50-7 victory over Bath Rugby on Sunday, David Humphreys was happy with his squad's effort, with the most important aspect being the game time earned by his players.
Gloucester make wholesale changes to the side that started at Exeter last Saturday as they prepare to take on Bath at the Memorial Stadium, Bristol on Sunday in the West Country Challenge Cup (kick off 3pm). The Director of Rugby told GRTV that the players are raring to go and that he's looking forward to seeing different combinations in action.