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.
Speaking after the 37-8 European Rugby Challenge Cup win over Benetton Treviso, James Hook admitted that the Italian side made things tough for Gloucester at times but that the Cherry and Whites are happy to take the bonus point win and turn their focus to Northampton next week.
Speaking to GRTV after the game, Backs Coach Tim Taylor was happy with the squad as they cruised to victory over Treviso. The result wasn't in doubt, but the Cherry and Whites laboured to secure a crucial try bonus point.
Speaking to the local media this week, Gloucester Rugby centre Matt Scott is excited to take the field again as the Cherry and Whites look to build on the win in Bayonne when Treviso come to Kingsholm this Saturday.
Defence Coach Jonny Bell admitted this week that the European Rugby Challenge Cup victory in Bayonne was a welcome one, stressed that Benetton Treviso will pose a tough test on Saturday at Kingsholm but that Gloucester are determined to deliver in front of their own fans.
Motu Matu'u is looking to make up for lost time this week as the Cherry and Whites head to Basque Country to take on Bayonne in the European Rugby Challenge Cup opener. The Samoan hooker made his first appearance in the jersey last weekend, and is hoping to contribute to the team this weekend.
Gloucester's attentions turn to Europe this weekend as they travel to Bayonne for their opening fixture of this season's European Rugby Challenge Cup. Forwards Coach Trevor Woodman told GRTV that the Cherry and Whites will be aiming to top their pool as they've done for the past two seasons, but is well aware of how tough it is to win in France.
Although understandably disappointed at seeing victory slip away at the last minute, Ben Morgan said after the game at Exeter that there were plenty of positives that Gloucester could take from the game.
The Gloucester Rugby Half Term Rugby Camps got off to a great start on Monday morning, with over 60 young rugby players braving the chilly weather to experience a great day of skills, learning and fun thanks to the Gloucester Rugby Community Department.
A number of Gloucester Rugby's promising young players are currently playing their competitive rugby on loan at other clubs, and six of them featured in Saturday's game between London Welsh and Rotherham Titans.