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 GRTV after the game, Backs Coach Tim Taylor was happy with the squad as they cruised to victory over Treviso. The result wasn't in doubt, but the Cherry and Whites laboured to secure a crucial try bonus point.
Speaking to the local media this week, Gloucester Rugby centre Matt Scott is excited to take the field again as the Cherry and Whites look to build on the win in Bayonne when Treviso come to Kingsholm this Saturday.
Defence Coach Jonny Bell admitted this week that the European Rugby Challenge Cup victory in Bayonne was a welcome one, stressed that Benetton Treviso will pose a tough test on Saturday at Kingsholm but that Gloucester are determined to deliver in front of their own fans.
Motu Matu'u is looking to make up for lost time this week as the Cherry and Whites head to Basque Country to take on Bayonne in the European Rugby Challenge Cup opener. The Samoan hooker made his first appearance in the jersey last weekend, and is hoping to contribute to the team this weekend.
Gloucester's attentions turn to Europe this weekend as they travel to Bayonne for their opening fixture of this season's European Rugby Challenge Cup. Forwards Coach Trevor Woodman told GRTV that the Cherry and Whites will be aiming to top their pool as they've done for the past two seasons, but is well aware of how tough it is to win in France.
Although understandably disappointed at seeing victory slip away at the last minute, Ben Morgan said after the game at Exeter that there were plenty of positives that Gloucester could take from the game.
Speaking after a last-gasp try from Exeter earned the Chiefs a 27-27 draw at Sandy Park on Saturday, Charlie Sharples admitted to mixed feelings. The game saw him score a try on his 200th competitive appearance for the club, but the frustration from not closing out the win was clear.
Gloucester made it two wins from two outings in this season's European Rugby Challenge Cup as they outplayed Benetton Treviso at Kingsholm to win by 37 points to 8, the bonus point try coming with the final play of the game.