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.
Northampton away was the first Gloucester game under David Humphreys last season, but the Director of Rugby told the local media that the Cherry and Whites are a different proposition compared to 12 months ago and are looking forward to the challenge.
Having skippered Gloucester against the Barbarians last week, Nick Wood once again wore the captain's armband on Monday evening as Gloucester United kicked off their Aviva Premiership A League campaign with a bonus point win at Leicester.
Gloucester recorded a 32-20 win over La Rochelle on Thursday evening, and second row Jeremy Thrush was thrilled to pick up the victory on his first taste of a trip to France and the hostile atmosphere.
Gloucester were forced to battle for their 33-20 victory in La Rochelle on Thursday evening, something that centre Bill Meakes said that he and the squad were well prepared for as well as thanking the travelling support for the part they played.
Gloucester got off to a winning start in the European Rugby Challenge Cup last weekend, but Head Coach Laurie Fisher is expecting a much tougher challenge when the Cherry and Whites travel to La Rochelle for Thursday night's Round Two encounter.
Dan Thomas was a try scorer in the 14-62 defeat at the hands of the Barbarians on Tuesday evening, but told GRTV after the game that he'd really enjoyed taking on the Barbarians and locking horns with Ardie Savea at the breakdown.
After a long, hard battle to return to fitness, Henry Trinder made his long awaited comeback in the second half of the 23-10 win over Zebre on Saturday and admitted he was taken aback by the reception he got from the Kingsholm crowd.
After missing out on Gloucester's two recent European fixtures, Jonny May is back on the left wing for Friday evening's Aviva Premiership fixture at Northampton, while Mariano Galarza is named in the matchday squad for the first time this season.