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.
Named Man of the Match by BT Sport, scrum-half Willi Heinz said after the 15-11 win at Bath on Friday evening that it was a pretty happy Gloucester dressing room and reward for a lot of hard work put in during the week leading up to the game.
Speaking after the 15-11 win over Bath at the Rec on Friday evening, David Humphreys heaped praise on his players, pointing out how they had bounced back after last week's tough defeat to overcome a rough start before controlling the game and earning the win.
Gloucester Rugby hooker Richard Hibbard spoke to the local media this week as the Cherry and Whites prepare to face Bath Rugby in the Aviva Premiership. The Welshman is ready to bounce back at The Rec.
Speaking to the local media about the local derby against Bath at the Rec on Friday evening, Director of Rugby David Humphreys acknowledged that it will be a tough encounter but hugely exciting at the same time and one the squad are looking forward to.
A visibly disappointed Billy Twelvetrees admitted that it was a very sombre Gloucester dressing room as a last minute try and conversion condemned the Cherry and Whites to an 18-19 defeat against Leicester Tigers on Saturday.
A disappointed Tom Savage told GRTV, after the 18-19 defeat at home to the Leicester Tigers, that the whole Gloucester team had put in a fantastic effort, but just couldn't find the extra one or two percent necessary to put away a top side.
Speaking after the narrow loss to Leicester Tigers on Saturday afternoon, David Humphreys says despite there being a lot of good in Gloucester's performance, he rued the failure to close the game out, as well as thanking the home support
Kiwi second row Jeremy Thrush is thoroughly enjoying his time in Cherry and White so far, and this weekend the Leicester Tigers are the visitors to Kingsholm, and the All Black is massively excited about the challenge.
After a disappointing opening weekend loss to their Scottish counterparts, England U20s will be eager to bounce back in Italy this evening, with Gloucester flyer Mat Protheroe set to pull the strings from fly half.
Gloucester Rugby make just the one change to the starting line up that won at Bath last Friday evening, flanker Matt Kvesic restored to the starting XV as the Cherry and Whites welcome Harlequins to Kingsholm in the Aviva Premiership on Saturday (kick off 3pm).
The Early Bird deadline for ticket purchases for the Aviva Premiership fixture against Harlequins on Saturday will expire at 6:30pm on Thursday evening, with tickets already limited for one area of Kingsholm.