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.
Gloucester meet the Exeter Chiefs for the fourth time in competitive action this weekend, this time in the semi-final of the European Rugby Challenge Cup. Director of Rugby David Humphreys told the local media this week that this is the sort of game that Gloucester want to be involved in on a regular basis and that he and his team are looking forward to it.
Following the 29-26 loss to Harlequins, club captain Billy Twelvetrees spoke of his disappointment that the Cherry and Whites were unable to cash in on the home side's indiscipline and lose a lead on Saturday afternoon.
Number eight Gareth Evans admitted to a collective feeling of frustration as Gloucester lost narrowly at Harlequins on Saturday, but insisted that there are plenty of positives to draw upon ahead of next Saturday's European Rugby Challenge Cup semi-final at home to Exeter.
Gloucester travel to the Stoop on Saturday afternoon to take on Harlequins in the Aviva Premiership. The Cherry and Whites make just two changes from last weekend's win over Connacht as they seek consistency and continuity in their play as Nick Walshe told the local media this week.
Speaking to GRTV after the final whistle, Tom Palmer praised the Cherry and Whites concentration and desire to hold on to a narrow 14-7 victory. The second row topped the tackle charts with 19 as he led the home team's resistance.
Supporters who are still to purchase tickets for Saturday's European Rugby Challenge Cup semi-final at home to Exeter Chiefs at Kingsholm (kick off 7:45pm) are reminded that Early Bird prices are only valid until 6:30pm on Thursday evening.
The Gloucester Wheelchair Rugby team travelled to Fenton Manor Complex, Stoke on Trent last Saturday to take part in the final round of the GBWR Super Series of the season, knowing just one win would be enough to crown them Division 3 Champions.