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.
Speaking to the local media this week, Richard Hibbard expressed his excitement ahead of the West Country derby and that there is an extra spring in the step of the Cherry and Whites ahead of the tough challenge.
With such a short turnaround between the two games, and Gloucester looking to reintegrate several players into the line-up after the Autumn international series, Tom Savage told GRTV that the Cherry and Whites will keep changes to a minimum for the European Rugby Challenge Cup game in Zebre on Saturday.
Gloucester travel to Italy this weekend to take on Zebre in Round Four of the European Rugby Challenge Cup. The Cherry and Whites defeated the Italian side 35-10 last Sunday, but Director of Rugby David Humphreys is looking for an improved performance in the return fixture.
On a tough evening at Kingsholm, Gloucester could escape neither a suffocating Bath defence, nor the whistle of referee Greg Garner as six penalties and a penalty try paved the way to a 39-16 win for the visitors.
Gloucester Rugby welcome Sione Kalamafoni, Greig Laidlaw and Tom Palmer back to the starting line up and feature David Halaifonua in a matchday squad for the first time, as they resume Aviva Premiership action against Bath Rugby at Kingsholm on Saturday (kick off 5:30pm).