Olly Barkley will make his Gloucester debut tomorrow.
OLLY BARKLEY will make his Gloucester debut tomorrow when his new club face Guinness Premiership leaders Harlequins at Kingsholm (3pm).
The former Bath star will wear the number 12 jersey for the first time in Gloucester colours after recovering from a fractured bone in his left wrist - an injury he picked up on England's summer tour to New Zealand.
Barkley will form a midfield partnership with skipper Mike Tindall, who shifts back to the outside centre position and means Matthew Watkins moves to the wing in place of James Simpson-Daniel, who is rested.
"This is has been a long time coming and I am really excited about the opportunity," Barkley said. "My rehabilitation has gone really well and now I just want to concentrate on contributing for my new club.
"Harlequins have made an excellent start to the season and we obviously appreciate their threat but after last week's performance and result we are confident we can re-create that again and built on it this weekend.
"I am just delighted to be involved in the side - it has been a long time coming."
Barkley joined Gloucester from Bath in February on a two-year contract and means Willie Walker continues at stand-off and Gareth Cooper at scrum-half.
Watkins' shift to the wing is the only change to the back three that also includes Lesley Vainikolo and full-back Olly Morgan.
Head coach Dean Ryan has made only one change to the forward pack that started at the Rec.
Alasdair Strokosch comes in at number six and Peter Buxton moves to the bench. Strokosch's other start - against Leicester on the opening weekend of the season - was on the openside flank.
However, Andy Hazell retains his number seven shirt and Luke Narraway, a try scorer in Gloucester's 21-17 win last Saturday, continues at number eight. Will James starts his third successive game at lock and will partner Alex Brown.
The front row of Nick Wood, Olivier Azam and Carlos Nieto also remain intact.
"Harlequins have been playing at a high tempo and have won well twice," said Gloucester's head coach Dean Ryan. "They are attack minded and are very dangerous when play breaks up - but I think we have taken on our game following the defeat against Leicester and have looked at things pretty objectively.
"We are a pretty free-flowing side but you can be challenged by playing too much rugby and we have to manage that. Last Saturday against Bath was much more of an illustration of what we have been working on.
"There will be consistency in selection in some areas but there will also be changes where we believe they are appropriate."
On the bench, Andy Titterrell is partnered by prop Alasdair Dickinson - who comes on in place of Dave Young - Marco Bortolami and Peter Buxton.
The three-quarter replacements are the same as last Saturday - scrum-half Rory Lawson, stand-off Ryan Lamb and winger Mark Foster.
There are still tickets available for tomorrow's game and they can be purchased from the ticket office hotline on 0871 871 8781 (option 2) online at www.gloucesterrugby.co.uk or from the ticket office on the day of the game.
GLOUCESTER (v Harlequins, tomorrow, 3pm): Olly Morgan; Matthew Watkins, Mike Tindall (capt), Olly Barkley, Lesley Vainikolo; Willie Walker, Gareth Cooper; Nick Wood, Olivier Azam, Carlos Nieto, Will James, Alex Brown, Alasdair Strokosch, Andy Hazell, Luke Narraway. Reps: Andy Titterrell, Alasdair Dickinson, Marco Bortolami, Peter Buxton, Rory Lawson, Ryan Lamb, Mark Foster.
Speaking to the local media this week, John Afoa described the hard work that the Cherry and White have been putting in and that he is fighting fit ready for Saturday's European Rugby Challenge Cup semi final clash with Exeter Chiefs.
Gloucester Rugby face Exeter Chiefs this Saturday in the European Rugby Challenge Cup semi-final, and Charlie Sharples, who starts at full back is relishing the challenge of the big Kingsholm occasion.
Gloucester meet the Exeter Chiefs for the fourth time in competitive action this weekend, this time in the semi-final of the European Rugby Challenge Cup. Director of Rugby David Humphreys told the local media this week that this is the sort of game that Gloucester want to be involved in on a regular basis and that he and his team are looking forward to it.
Following the 29-26 loss to Harlequins, club captain Billy Twelvetrees spoke of his disappointment that the Cherry and Whites were unable to cash in on the home side's indiscipline and lose a lead on Saturday afternoon.
Number eight Gareth Evans admitted to a collective feeling of frustration as Gloucester lost narrowly at Harlequins on Saturday, but insisted that there are plenty of positives to draw upon ahead of next Saturday's European Rugby Challenge Cup semi-final at home to Exeter.
Gloucester travel to the Stoop on Saturday afternoon to take on Harlequins in the Aviva Premiership. The Cherry and Whites make just two changes from last weekend's win over Connacht as they seek consistency and continuity in their play as Nick Walshe told the local media this week.
Gloucester Rugby qualified for their first European final since 2006 as they defeated the in-form Exeter Chiefs by 30 points to 19 in a thrilling semi-final at Kingsholm on Saturday evening. The club photographer caught the best of the action.
Recent meetings between these two teams have often been thrillers, and this was no exception. It went down to the final few minutes, but Gloucester produced the goods when it mattered to qualify for the European Rugby Challenge Cup Final, beating Exeter 30-19.
Supporters who are still to purchase tickets for Saturday's European Rugby Challenge Cup semi-final at home to Exeter Chiefs at Kingsholm (kick off 7:45pm) are reminded that Early Bird prices are only valid until 6:30pm on Thursday evening.