PHIL VICKERY freely admits he is 'starting from scratch' again when he makes his first start of the season against Calvisano on Saturday. The official site rounds up all the team news for this weekend's clash with the Italians at Kingsholm (kick-off 3pm).
The tighthead prop has been included in a strong line-up unveiled by head coach Dean Ryan for the first pre-season encounter at Kingsholm - fresh from becoming a father for the first time at the end of last month.
His daughter Megan Olivia was born on July 29 and as he revealed that the impetus of becoming a father can boost his rugby too.
Vickery has not played since shattering his arm against Bath in the Premiership last February and has since undergone an extensive period of rehabilitation throughout the end of last season and the summer.
And he now gets the chance to get much needed match practice under his belt before the Guinness Premiership starts on September 4 away at Worcester.
"The birth of Megan has given me a new chapter in my life," he told www.gloucesterrugby.co.uk. "It is one of those things you simply cannot explain and now I am looking forward to getting back into a game.
"I know I start virtually from scratch but I just want to get out there and get on with it and get some matches under my belt and I want to play as many as I can. It has obviously been tremendously frustrating but I just want to get on with the season.
"It has been a good summer for me and I am positive looking forward.
"Vickery will be joined in the front row by Welsh international Mefin Davies and loosehead prop Nick Wood.
Adam Eustace partners Alex Brown in the second row, while hugely talented breakaway James Merriman gets his opportunity on the openside in a back row that will also contain skipper Adam Balding and Peter Buxton.
Ryan has named an experimental but highly talented backline that includes Henry Paul and James Simpson-Daniel. Paul will line-up in the centre alongside 18 year-old Jack Adams, who made such a good impression during the Issoire Tournament.
Scrum-half Haydn Thomas is partnered by new skills coach Duncan McRae at half-back, while Mark Foster and Rob Thirlby complete the back three alongside Simpson-Daniel.
The bench also contains a vast array of firepower including an entire front row. Olivier Azam, Patrice Collazo and Gary Powell could all get some game time as could second row Jonathan Pendlebury.
Andy Hazell, who is free for selection following his seven-day ban following his red card against Leeds in the Issoire Tournament is also included.
Peter Richards, Ludovic Mercier and Jon Goodridge complete Gloucester's options.
GLOUCESTER v Calvisano, Saturday, Kingsholm 3pm:
Rob Thirlby; Mark Foster, Jack Adams, Henry Paul, James Simpson-Daniel; Duncan McRae, Haydn Thomas; Nick Wood, Mefin Davies, Phil Vickery, Adam Eustace, Alex Brown, Peter
Buxton, James Merriman, Adam Balding (capt).
Reps: Olivier Azam, Patrice Collazo, Gary Powell, Jonathan Pendlebury, Andy Hazell, Peter Richards, Ludovic Mercier, Jon Goodridge.
Speaking to GRTV this week, Director of Rugby David Humphreys reflected on last week's win in La Rochelle as well as an A League semi-final triumph, but insisted that focus has quickly switched to Sunday's crucial Aviva Premiership fixture at Bath.
Speaking to GRTV after the 40-29 Aviva A League win over Wasps Rugby, Academy Coach Rich Whiffin explained his pride in the squad to overcome a strong opponent and book their spot in next week's Aviva A League final.
Willi Heinz returned from injury to skipper Gloucester to a famous 16-14 win over Stade Rochelais on Saturday evening. Speaking after the game in France, Heinz admitted the win wasn't pretty but was full of courage and a great result for the club.
Billy Burns contributed all Gloucester's points in the 16-14 European Rugby Challenge Cup win in La Rochelle on Saturday evening, but dedicated the victory to the whole squad whilst also praising the travelling support.
Speaking after Gloucester's brave 16-14 win against Stade Rochelais which clinches a European Rugby Challenge Cup final spot, Director of Rugby David Humphreys paid tribute to the way the team had executed the game plan in a hostile environment against quality opposition.
Greig Laidlaw returns to the Gloucester Rugby squad this week, and his inclusion is an important one after a serious ankle injury. The Scottish scrum half is determined to drive the team forward in their European Rugby Challenge Cup semi final in La Rochelle this Saturday.
Gloucester take on La Rochelle in the European Rugby Challenge Cup semi-final in France on Saturday evening, with the Top 14 side the favourites in the eyes of the bookmakers. However, David Humphreys is looking for his side to rise to the occasion against a familiar opponent.
Local junior rugby teams had the honour of trotting out onto the Kingsholm pitch on Saturday morning, with over 400 young players representing their local clubs in the finals of the Wooden Spoon Charity Floodlit Tournament.