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.
Gloucester have been in good form in recent weeks, but Backs Coach Tim Taylor knows that the Cherry and Whites will have to be at their best on Thursday evening (kick off 7:45pm) against a Stade Rochelais side flying high this season.
Speaking to GRTV after the bonus point win over Bristol, back row Lewis Ludlow revealed that despite a tricky first half, Gloucester backed their skills to come through, a faith that was evident in a strong second half showing.
Willi Heinz scored Gloucester's second try as the Cherry and Whites overturned a disappointing first 40 minutes and 0-6 half time deficit, to earn a 26-18 Aviva Premiership victory over Bristol Rugby on Saturday.
It's the first Gloucester-Bristol derby at Kingsholm in over eight years this Saturday (kick off 4:30pm) and, previewing the game with the local media this week, Defence Coach Jonny Bell stressed that, with both teams in the bottom half of the table, they both need the points.
Speaking to the local media this week, Gloucester front rower John Afoa knows the challenge ahead this week against Bristol, and calls on the Cherry and Whites to make the most of home advantage as a determined squad look to bounce back from a narrow loss to Saracens.
Tom Savage speaks to GRTV and the local media as Gloucester went down by 24-20 at Saracens on Sunday afternoon. The second row was disappointed with the result, despite a strong showing from the hosts.
Speaking immediately after the game, skipper Willi Heinz thought that Gloucester had executed their game plan reasonably well and competed hard against Saracens. However, it wasn't enough but the squad will have plenty to work on this week ahead of the derby match against Bristol.
Having named an unchanged starting XV for the past three Aviva Premiership games, Gloucester Rugby ring the changes and retain only five players for Thursday's visit of Stade Rochelais in the European Rugby Challenge Cup (kick off 7:45pm).