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.
Speaking to GRTV after the 40-29 Aviva A League win over Wasps Rugby, Academy Coach Rich Whiffin explained his pride in the squad to overcome a strong opponent and book their spot in next week's Aviva A League final.
Willi Heinz returned from injury to skipper Gloucester to a famous 16-14 win over Stade Rochelais on Saturday evening. Speaking after the game in France, Heinz admitted the win wasn't pretty but was full of courage and a great result for the club.
Billy Burns contributed all Gloucester's points in the 16-14 European Rugby Challenge Cup win in La Rochelle on Saturday evening, but dedicated the victory to the whole squad whilst also praising the travelling support.
Speaking after Gloucester's brave 16-14 win against Stade Rochelais which clinches a European Rugby Challenge Cup final spot, Director of Rugby David Humphreys paid tribute to the way the team had executed the game plan in a hostile environment against quality opposition.
Greig Laidlaw returns to the Gloucester Rugby squad this week, and his inclusion is an important one after a serious ankle injury. The Scottish scrum half is determined to drive the team forward in their European Rugby Challenge Cup semi final in La Rochelle this Saturday.
Gloucester take on La Rochelle in the European Rugby Challenge Cup semi-final in France on Saturday evening, with the Top 14 side the favourites in the eyes of the bookmakers. However, David Humphreys is looking for his side to rise to the occasion against a familiar opponent.
Speaking to GRTV after Saturday's 39-30 Aviva Premiership win over Sale, Mark Atkinson admitted that the performance wasn't perfect but that the team's character shone through in a game that could easily have slipped away.
Scotland scrum-half Greig Laidlaw is targeting a 'unique' finish to his Gloucester tenure in the European Rugby Challenge Cup final at the venue where his professional playing career began, BT Murrayfield Stadium (Friday 12 May).
Gloucester's young United side once again dug deep to take an illustrious scalp, overturning a half-time deficit to earn a 40-29 victory over Wasps and earn a place in the Aviva Premiership A League final.