PITCH improvements at Kingsholm have already begun ahead of the 2008-09 season.
The last game on the old surface was the Barbarians' fixture against Ireland last Tuesday and since then Gloucester's ground staff have been hard at work preparing the stadium before next season.
"The top layer of grass has been removed and additional drainage has been installed to prepare the pitch for the summer re-seeding schedule this summer" said Sean Roberts, Gloucester Rugby's operation manager.
"We will remove around 12mm of turf, fertilize and re-seed over the coming three days and we will see growth across the field over the next 14 days. This will strengthen the pitch by removing the weaker annual meadow grass.
"Additional drainage has also been installed closer to the C&G Grandstand to assist in removing excessive holding water since the pitch moved last season. This again will help keep the surface in better condition over the course of the forthcoming season."
Last season, Gloucester held additional fixtures for the Barbarians, the European Challenge Cup final between Bath and Worcester and two England Under-20 internationals.
"The re-development of the Grandstand has been a major success and meant we have attracted additional games to the fixture list," said stadium manager Dave Balmer.
"That means the surface comes under greater scrutiny and potentially more damage. Although the season has only recently finished the deadlines are pretty tight to ensure we are ready for the start of next season.
"Work has gone well so far and although we are really happy with the surface at Kingsholm, we are always looking for improvements."
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.
Skipper Billy Twelvetrees, speaking to GRTV after the 35-10 over Zebre, was happy with the bonus point win over the Italian side but admitted Gloucester will need to tighten up for the return fixture in Parma.
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).