CHARLIE Simpson-Daniel - the younger brother of Gloucester's England winger James - and Freddie Burns, England's Under-18s fly-half - are the star names in the new intake at Gloucester's Academy for the 2008-09 season.
Simpson-Daniel is a scrum-half and has just finished his A Level exams at Sedbergh School. He will be one of 10 players taken into the Academy set-up on one-year contracts by manager Mark Cornwell.
"These are some of the brightest talents in the country, of that there can be no question," said Cornwell. "We are creating an environment, not only at first team level, that encourages these players to join Gloucester.
"The Academy system and the club is generating a reputation as a breeding ground for young, talented players and that is something we want to work on and improve.
"At senior level, players like Ryan Lamb, Nick Wood and Olly Morgan are testament to what we are trying to achieve and we are all hugely excited by the prospect of working with these players next season."
Burns joins Gloucester from rivals Bath and has already represented England at Under-18 level and is regarded as one of the brightest prospects in the country.
Shaun Knight is an England Under-18 tight-head prop and will be joined by his Red Rose team-mate, loose-head prop Yann Thomas, who has also played for Weston-super-Mare.
Lock Danny Wright, who also has England Under-18 experience, scrum-half Jordi Pasqualin from King's School and England Under-18s Conference squad and winger Ollie Winterbottom, who also represented the Conference squad a year early.
Completing the intake is Dave Blackwell, England Under-18s hooker, Hartpury College centre Jonny May, Tristan Roberts, a stand-off, who helped Cinderford to promotion last season and has represented England Students and Counties and Guy Thompson, an openside flanker from UWIC University.
"We are fortunate to be working with such a talented group of individuals," Cornwell. "They will come into contact with the senior squad, be exposed to what is required to make it at the top level and represent the club.
"This is a great opportunity for them and something we are all looking forward to."
Meanwhile, Gloucester has confirmed they will play both Cardiff Blues and the Glasgow Warriors in pre-season.
Dean Ryan's side will face the Blues at Kingsholm on Friday, August 22 (7.30pm), and then the Warriors on Saturday, August 30 (2pm).
Both games will be included in the season ticket package and the club will make an announcement on ticket prices and availability later this month.
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.