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.
Willi Heinz scored Gloucester's second try as the Cherry and Whites overturned a disappointing first 40 minutes and 0-6 half time deficit, to earn a 26-18 Aviva Premiership victory over Bristol Rugby on Saturday.
It's the first Gloucester-Bristol derby at Kingsholm in over eight years this Saturday (kick off 4:30pm) and, previewing the game with the local media this week, Defence Coach Jonny Bell stressed that, with both teams in the bottom half of the table, they both need the points.
Speaking to the local media this week, Gloucester front rower John Afoa knows the challenge ahead this week against Bristol, and calls on the Cherry and Whites to make the most of home advantage as a determined squad look to bounce back from a narrow loss to Saracens.
Tom Savage speaks to GRTV and the local media as Gloucester went down by 24-20 at Saracens on Sunday afternoon. The second row was disappointed with the result, despite a strong showing from the hosts.
Speaking immediately after the game, skipper Willi Heinz thought that Gloucester had executed their game plan reasonably well and competed hard against Saracens. However, it wasn't enough but the squad will have plenty to work on this week ahead of the derby match against Bristol.
Gloucester may be coming off their best win of the season, the 38-16 victory over Wasps last weekend, but Director of Rugby David Humphreys admits that Sunday's trip to Saracens is an even tougher test.
Looking to try a new sport? Look no further than Walking Rugby as thanks to Gloucester Rugby you can come along and try out the fast-growing sport at taster sessions across the county, starting this Wednesday.
Gloucester return to European Rugby Challenge Cup action on Thursday evening with the visit of Stade Rochelais to Kingsholm (kick off 7:45pm). Early Bird ticket prices are available until 6:30pm on matchday.
Talk about a game of two halves. Things looked grim on Saturday as Gloucester trailed 0-6 to Bristol at half-time. However, Matt Scott's eighth try of the season got Gloucester off and running, and the visitors fell apart as the Cherry and Whites eased to a 26-18 bonus point Aviva Premiership win.