Scott Lawson will make his Guinness Premiership debut for Gloucester tomorrow.
SCOTT LAWSON will make his Guinness Premiership debut for Gloucester tomorrow when they face Newcastle Falcons at Kingsholm (7.45pm).
The Scotland international and former Sale Sharks hooker comes into the starting line-up in place of Olivier Azam, who moves to the bench.
Andy Titterrell was not considered for selection after taking a bang to the head during Gloucester's 23-9 defeat at Edgeley Park on Friday.
Lawson signed for Gloucester earlier this month on a contract that will run until the end of next season and has been capped 16 times by his country.
He is one of three changes to the Gloucester pack from the one that faced Sale last week. Nick Wood returns at loose-head prop in place of David Young, while Alasdair Strokosch comes in on the openside flank in place of Andy Hazell, who moves to the bench.
At half-back, scrum-half Gareth Cooper returns in the number nine shirt in place of Rory Lawson and Olly Barkley gets his first opportunity at stand-off.
Mike Tindall will skipper the side from the number 12 position, while Matthew Watkins will retain the number 13 shirt. There are two changes in the back three.
Olly Morgan returns to full-back following his spell on the bench last weekend, Iain Balshaw moves from number 15 to the flank in place of Lesley Vainikolo and James Simpson-Daniel completes the back three.
"With a turn-around like the one we face, we have to explore other options for this contest and that is what we have done," said head coach Dean Ryan. "We have to try and get ourselves in the right areas of the field more consistently and reduce our error count to be as effective as we know we can be.
"We did some good things on Friday against Sale but probably in areas of the field that diluted their effectiveness.
"Any game at Kingsholm under lights is a fantastic occasion because it intensifies the atmosphere and makes it even more special. Although we are turning around quickly this is obviously a very significant game for us."
On the bench, Ryan will include hooker Azam and prop Young. Apo Satal - un-used against Sale - and Andy Hazell are the other forward options.
Rory Lawson, Willie Walker and Mark Foster are Gloucester's three-quarter replacements.
Tickets for tomorrow's game are still available from the ticket office at Kingsholm, the hotline number on 0871 871 8781 (option 2) or online at www.gloucesterrugby.co.uk
GLOUCESTER (v Newcastle Falcons, tomorrow, Kingsholm, 7.45pm): Olly Morgan; James Simpson-Daniel, Matthew Watkins, Mike Tindall (capt), Iain Balshaw; Olly Barkley, Gareth Cooper; Nick Wood, Scott Lawson, Alasdair Dickinson, Marco Bortolami, Alex Brown, Peter Buxton, Alasdair Strokosch, Luke Narraway. Reps: Olivier Azam, David Young, Apo Satala, Andy Hazell, Rory Lawson, Willie Walker, Mark Foster.
Fly-half Billy Burns was named Man of the Match after the 35-14 European Rugby Challenge Cup victory over Stade Rochelais on Thursday evening, and was full of praise for all his team mates for the win after a short turnaround.
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.
Gloucester's much changed side had to overcome conceding an early try on Thursday evening, but responded in style to down Stade Rochelais by 35 points to 14 in the European Rugby Challenge Cup and set up a mouthwatering return fixture next weekend.
After taking 11 points from their last three games in the Aviva Premiership, including bonus point wins against Wasps and Bristol, Gloucester will be looking to continue their good form when they welcome La Rochelle to Kingsholm.