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.
Previewing Friday evening's local derby at Bristol, Interim Head Coach Jonny Bell told the local media that Gloucester's preparations have gone well and that the whole squad is united in trying to finish the season on a high.
Speaking to GRTV this week, Acting Head Coach Jonny Bell spoke of his pleasure in the efforts and intensity in training from the squad after a tricky few weeks. The team were preparing for big games with Bristol and Cardiff in coming weeks.
Willi Heinz was understandably and visibly disappointed when he spoke to GRTV after the 27-30 home defeat to Harlequins, apologising to the home support as the game slipped away after seemingly having the game under control.
Speaking to the local media this week, Scottish centre Matt Scott spoke of the squad's determination to put in a big home performance against Harlequins, with vital points up for grabs in the hunt for a Top Six spot this Saturday (KO 3pm)
Looking ahead to Saturday's Aviva Premiership fixture at home to Harlequins (kick off 3pm), Head Coach Laurie Fisher told the local media that Gloucester will need to be on top of their game in a match which has big implications in terms of top six ambitions.
A big few days for the Gloucester-Hartpury Women side. First came the news that the team will compete in Women's Super Rugby next season, and on Saturday the team will play Worcester Ladies IIs at Kingsholm. Centre Hannah Jones and wing Michelle Ruddock spoke to GRTV this week to reflect on events.
Speaking to the local media after the 35-22 loss at Wasps, lock Tom Savage spoke of his disappointment at the result, with Gloucester left to rue a number of missed opportunities against a clinical home side.
Missing so many starters, and up against a team fighting for their Premiership existence, Gloucester did what had to be done at Ashton Gate on Friday evening battling their way to a 32-14 Aviva Premiership win over Bristol Rugby.