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.
Previewing Friday evening's local derby at Bristol, Interim Head Coach Jonny Bell told the local media that Gloucester's preparations have gone well and that the whole squad is united in trying to finish the season on a high.
Speaking to GRTV this week, Acting Head Coach Jonny Bell spoke of his pleasure in the efforts and intensity in training from the squad after a tricky few weeks. The team were preparing for big games with Bristol and Cardiff in coming weeks.
Willi Heinz was understandably and visibly disappointed when he spoke to GRTV after the 27-30 home defeat to Harlequins, apologising to the home support as the game slipped away after seemingly having the game under control.
Speaking to the local media this week, Scottish centre Matt Scott spoke of the squad's determination to put in a big home performance against Harlequins, with vital points up for grabs in the hunt for a Top Six spot this Saturday (KO 3pm)
Looking ahead to Saturday's Aviva Premiership fixture at home to Harlequins (kick off 3pm), Head Coach Laurie Fisher told the local media that Gloucester will need to be on top of their game in a match which has big implications in terms of top six ambitions.
A big few days for the Gloucester-Hartpury Women side. First came the news that the team will compete in Women's Super Rugby next season, and on Saturday the team will play Worcester Ladies IIs at Kingsholm. Centre Hannah Jones and wing Michelle Ruddock spoke to GRTV this week to reflect on events.
In the aftermath of the Aviva Premiership victory over Bristol, Interim Head Coach Jonny Bell was able to look forward to this weekend's European Rugby Challenge Cup quarter-final against Cardiff Blues (Kingsholm, kick off 8:05pm).
Missing so many starters, and up against a team fighting for their Premiership existence, Gloucester did what had to be done at Ashton Gate on Friday evening battling their way to a 32-14 Aviva Premiership win over Bristol Rugby.