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.
Speaking to the local media this week, back row flanker Jacob Rowan said that he is excited for the challenge at the Ricoh Arena this Sunday, and added that the players know the responsibility is theirs to deliver against the league leaders.
Ben Morgan was on media duty this week, and as Gloucester prepare for Sunday's trip to Wasps, the number eight is looking forward to see Gloucester go toe-to-toe with another of the Aviva Premiership's front runners.
Tom Marshall scored his first Gloucester try in the 31-23 win over Saracens on Friday evening and was named Man of the Match. Talking to GRTV, he praised the forwards for setting the tone on the night.
Matt Scott was on media duty this week, and the Scottish international spoke about the benefit of having a full week of training with his club mates and the determination to get back to performing well against Saracens this Friday evening.
Last Friday night saw Gloucester Rugby Head of Community Adam Balding present a cheque for £7082.82 to the Royal British Legion as a result of a series of fundraising during the Remembrance Period in November.
Gloucester battled bravely against Wasps on Sunday, but it was a case of taking chances at the Ricoh Arena. Gloucester didn't make the most of theirs while Wasps did, and that proved to be the difference.
Gloucester were competitive for long periods at the Ricoh Arena on Sunday afternoon, but were left to rue a host of missed scoring opportunities throughout as Wasps hit back to earn a 35-22 Aviva Premiership win.
Gloucester's Ciaran Knight made his first start at tighthead prop, Henry Walker made his first appearance as a second half replacement and Alex Seville also featured as England U20s might it three from three in the U20s Six Nations with a 46-0 win over Italy in Darlington on Friday night.