ITALIAN skipper Marco Bortolami will be one of four summer signings who will make their Gloucester debuts in Friday's pre-season game against Saracens (7.30pm).
Bortolami will be joined in the second row by former Cornish Pirates lock Will James, while half-back pair Rory Lawson and Willie Walker will also start against the Londoners.
"I think it will be great to finally see some of our new and very exciting signings in a Gloucester shirt," head coach Dean Ryan told www.gloucesterrugby.co.uk
"I believe it shows our strength in depth this season and we will have plenty of players fighting for places which is exactly what we want.
"We have players who are desperate to pull on the shirt, get back into a match environment and prove they want to do well for this team."
Patrice Collazo will wear the number the number one shirt and form a front row alongside Olivier Azam, who will return from a shoulder injury at hooker and youngster Jack Forster.
In the back row, Peter Buxton will lead the side from the blindside flank, James Merriman gets a shot at the number seven shirt and Adam Balding wears number eight.
Former Edinburgh scrum-half Rory Lawson will partner Willie Walker at half-back, while Rudi Keil is named alongside Jack Adams in the centre.
Adams has not played since last season when he damaged cruciate knee ligaments against Saracens but he signed a new one-year contract extension last season and is regarded as one of the brightest youngsters in the squad.
Mark Foster, James Bailey and Ludovic Mercier complete the back three - Mercier getting a run at full-back.
"I think this team has some exciting combinations in this team and to see Bortolami, James and the other new signings in action is very exciting," Ryan added.
Jake Boer is out of contention for the opening rounds of the Guinness Premiership season after sustaining a blow to the knee during Junior Paramore's testimonial match at Bedford last Friday. The South African back row is expected to return to full training in three to four weeks.
GLOUCESTER v Saracens, Friday, August 11: Ludovic Mercier; James Bailey, Jack Adams, Rudi Keil, Mark Foster; Willie Walker, Rory Lawson; Patrice Collazo, Olivier Azam, Jack Forster, Will James, Marco Bortolami, Peter Buxton (capt), James Merriman, Adam Balding. Reps to be named.
As Gloucester prepare for their 39th game of the season, against Bordeaux-Begles at Sixways on Sunday, David Humphreys told the local media that this week has been all about getting the players mentally and physically ready after a tough game against Connacht last Sunday.
Speaking to GRTV after the 40-32 victory over Connacht on Sunday, skipper Billy Twelvetrees explained that Gloucester had had to learn to be patient and cut out the errors to earn the win and progress to next weekend's final play-off against Bordeaux-Begles.
Jonny May's superb late score capped a thrilling 40-32 European play-off win over Connacht on Sunday. The winger spoke afterwards of his team's character and spirit as he looked ahead to one more week of rugby.
Speaking to GRTV this afternoon, Director of Rugby David Humphreys hailed the 'never say die' attitude of the team, after despite not being at their best, fighting back to take a 40-32 win after extra time over Connacht.
Jonny May continues on the wing on Sunday as Connacht come to town, and the England wing explains to the local media this week that he is delighted with his form and is looking forward to taking on Pat Lam's men.
Speaking to the local media this week, front rower John Afoa is familiar with the challenge of Connacht from his time in Belfast, and the World Cup winner is fully aware of the challenge they pose ahead of Sunday's meeting in the Champions Cup play off
Speaking ahead of Gloucester's European Rugby Champions play-off against Connacht on Sunday (Kingsholm, 3:30pm), Director of Rugby David Humphreys admitted that he's glad to have more players available than in recent weeks ahead of a tough fixture.
Nick Wood captained the Cherry and Whites on Saturday afternoon, and the experienced front rower expressed his pride in the young squad in defeat to Bath on the final day of the Aviva Premiership season.
Lewis Ludlow scored Gloucester's opening try in the 30-50 defeat at Bath on Saturday, part of an impressive performance by the young back row forward. Speaking after the game, he paid tribute to the young Gloucester side who went toe to toe with the Aviva Premiership semi-finalists.
Tongan international forward Sione Kalamafoni returns after injury to take up his usual place in the back row as Gloucester look to finish their season on a high against Bordeaux-Begles at Sixways on Sunday.
Gloucester Rugby is delighted to confirm that 18 year old Mat Protheroe, a product of Hartpury College and one of the brightest young talents in the English game, has signed a senior contract at Kingsholm.