RYAN LAMB will wear the number 10 shirt when Gloucester begin their Heineken Cup campaign against Biarritz at Kingsholm tomorrow (5.30pm).
Lamb will make his 13th Heineken Cup appearance tomorrow and is Gloucester's second highest points scorer in the competition with 113.
He will form a half-back partnership with Gareth Cooper as head coach Dean Ryan names his strongest possible line-up for the visit of the French side.
Outside Lamb, Olly Barkley will form a midfield partnership with captain Mike Tindall, while Ryan names his in-form back three of James Simpson-Daniel, who has 17 Heineken Cup tries in 25 games, Iain Balshaw and full-back Olly Morgan.
There are also changes to his forward pack. Carlos Nieto returns at tight-head for the first time since Gloucester's Guinness Premiership victory over Harlequins last month after recovering from a strain in the lower part of his back.
He will pack down alongside hooker Olivier Azam and loose-head prop Alasdair Dickinson. At lock, Marco Bortolami and Alex Brown are paired together for the fourth successive match.
In the back row, Peter Buxton will wear six, Alasdair Strokosch seven and Luke Narraway eight - after he recovered from a hamstring injury this week.
"This competition has the best players in the world playing in it and some of the pool games and then the progression games are enormous - tomorrow is no exception," said Gloucester's head coach Dean Ryan.
"Biarritz have a lot of experience, they have contested semi-finals and finals and their squad is there to be seen but it is up to us to get off to a good start at home against them.
"The challenges in the Heineken Cup are obvious but we want to hold onto key characteristics that make our game a threat. We have been progressing that way over the last few weeks and it is vital we take that forward tomorrow.
"This is a contest we can be energised by - it should be fantastic."
On the bench, Ryan is able to welcome back prop Jack Forster from a broken bone in his thumb and he will join hooker Scott Lawson as the front row options. The other forward options are lock Adam Eustace and flanker Andy Hazell.
In the backs, Rory Lawson covers scrum-half, Willie Walker the half-back and full-back positions and Lesley Vainikolo the wings.
Both Walker and Vainikolo scored in Gloucester's 24-19 EDF Energy Cup victory over Wasps last weekend.
GLOUCESTER (v Biarritz, tomorrow, 5.30pm): Olly Morgan; Iain Balshaw, Mike Tindall (capt), Olly Barkley, James Simpson-Daniel, Ryan Lamb, Gareth Cooper; Alasdair Dickinson, Olivier Azam, Carlos Nieto, Marco Bortolami, Alex Brown, Peter Buxton, Alasdair Strokosch, Luke Narraway. Reps: Scott Lawson, Jack Forster, Adam Eustace, Andy Hazell, Rory Lawson, Willie Walker, Lesley Vainikolo.
There are still tickets available for tomorrow's game from the hotline number on 0871 871 8781 (option 2), online at www.gloucesterrugby.co.uk or from the ticket office. The ticket office will be open at 10am on Saturday morning.
A handful of the Gloucester Rugby Mo-Bros visited Pride Hair Salon in Gloucester on Wednesday afternoon to have the final touches applied to their Movember efforts, and the team captain Jacob Rowan spoke to GRTV ahead of the final few days of the month.
Northampton away was the first Gloucester game under David Humphreys last season, but the Director of Rugby told the local media that the Cherry and Whites are a different proposition compared to 12 months ago and are looking forward to the challenge.
Having skippered Gloucester against the Barbarians last week, Nick Wood once again wore the captain's armband on Monday evening as Gloucester United kicked off their Aviva Premiership A League campaign with a bonus point win at Leicester.
Gloucester recorded a 32-20 win over La Rochelle on Thursday evening, and second row Jeremy Thrush was thrilled to pick up the victory on his first taste of a trip to France and the hostile atmosphere.
Gloucester were forced to battle for their 33-20 victory in La Rochelle on Thursday evening, something that centre Bill Meakes said that he and the squad were well prepared for as well as thanking the travelling support for the part they played.
Gloucester got off to a winning start in the European Rugby Challenge Cup last weekend, but Head Coach Laurie Fisher is expecting a much tougher challenge when the Cherry and Whites travel to La Rochelle for Thursday night's Round Two encounter.
Dan Thomas was a try scorer in the 14-62 defeat at the hands of the Barbarians on Tuesday evening, but told GRTV after the game that he'd really enjoyed taking on the Barbarians and locking horns with Ardie Savea at the breakdown.
After missing out on Gloucester's two recent European fixtures, Jonny May is back on the left wing for Friday evening's Aviva Premiership fixture at Northampton, while Mariano Galarza is named in the matchday squad for the first time this season.