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.
Jonny May's superb late score capped a thrilling 40-32 European play-off win over Connacht on Sunday. The winger spoke afterwards of his team's character and spirit as he looked ahead to one more week of rugby.
Speaking to GRTV this afternoon, Director of Rugby David Humphreys hailed the 'never say die' attitude of the team, after despite not being at their best, fighting back to take a 40-32 win after extra time over Connacht.
Jonny May continues on the wing on Sunday as Connacht come to town, and the England wing explains to the local media this week that he is delighted with his form and is looking forward to taking on Pat Lam's men.
Speaking to the local media this week, front rower John Afoa is familiar with the challenge of Connacht from his time in Belfast, and the World Cup winner is fully aware of the challenge they pose ahead of Sunday's meeting in the Champions Cup play off
Speaking ahead of Gloucester's European Rugby Champions play-off against Connacht on Sunday (Kingsholm, 3:30pm), Director of Rugby David Humphreys admitted that he's glad to have more players available than in recent weeks ahead of a tough fixture.
Nick Wood captained the Cherry and Whites on Saturday afternoon, and the experienced front rower expressed his pride in the young squad in defeat to Bath on the final day of the Aviva Premiership season.
Lewis Ludlow scored Gloucester's opening try in the 30-50 defeat at Bath on Saturday, part of an impressive performance by the young back row forward. Speaking after the game, he paid tribute to the young Gloucester side who went toe to toe with the Aviva Premiership semi-finalists.
Speaking to the local media after the game, Director of Rugby David Humphreys gave an honest assessment of the game, and expressed his pride in the way his young charges had performed against the title-chasing hosts.
Speaking to the local media this week, Gloucester Rugby scrum half Callum Braley is excited by the challenge of the West Country Derby, and the ex-Bristol man reveals the squad will be giving their all.
At the recent London Irish game, personnel from the Imjin Barracks in Innsworth, including Gurkhas, were present, holding a collection to raise funds for ShelterBox to aid relief from the recent Nepal Earthquake Appeal.
It was a thriller at Kingsholm on Sunday afternoon, as Gloucester snatched victory from the jaws of defeat, leveling the scores in the final minute before triumphing in extra time over a spirited Connacht side.
Having defeated Connacht Rugby in dramatic fashion in the first play-off for the final spot in the 2015-16 European Rugby Champions Cup, Gloucester Rugby can confirm ticketing details for next Sunday's game against Bordeaux-Begles at Sixways.