FORMER Wallaby hooker Jeremy Paul will start his second match in Gloucester colours tomorrow night when he packs down against the Dragons in the EDF Energy Cup (7.30pm).
The Australian hooker has made one previous senior appearance since his move to Kingsholm - in the same competition against Newcastle last month before he damaged a hamstring.
With Gloucester unable to reach the knockout stages, head coach Dean Ryan and his assistant Bryan Redpath have chosen to give first-team exposure to a number of players - including props Jack Forster and Alasdair Dickinson, centre Ali James, stand-off Willie Walker and wingers James Bailey and Mark Foster.
But there is plenty of experience too - Will James will partner skipper Marco Bortolami at lock, Alasdair Strokosch comes in for Peter Buxton on the blindside flank, Andy Hazell wears the number seven shirt and Gareth Delve continues at number eight.
Forster has played all his senior rugby this season on loan at Moseley, while Paul returns after a hamstring strain. Buxton was not considered for selection because of a rib injury picked up against Harlequins last week.
"These players are representing Gloucester and everything that stands for within our group - that is tremendous motivation for anyone, regardless of the nature of this game," said head coach Dean Ryan.
"I have made it clear before that it is impossible to operate with 15 or so players throughout the intensity of our season. We have developed and built a squad that means we can change a starting XV and we have done that appropriately.
"Some of our players have been involved in a series of high-intensity games and we have back-to-back Heineken Cup matches coming up so we have selected a team that gives players the opportunity to expand our core group.
"For that reason, there is plenty in tomorrow's game that is important for us. Rodney Parade will be a vibrant, passionate environment and we need to be ready for that - it is a contest we are really looking forward to.
"We are looking forward to this encounter and believe this time is capable of performing well."
In the backs, Mike Prendergast comes in at scrum-half and will partner Willie Walker at half-back.
It will be Walker's first start since his man of the match performance against Leicester in October, while Prendergast has not started since Gloucester's defeat against London Irish.
Centre James, a summer signing from Newbury, will make his first senior appearance and he will partner Leon Lloyd in the centre, who returns from a knee injury for the first time in six matches.
Full-back Olly Morgan will be partnered by Mark Foster and James Bailey on the wings.
There is plenty of experience on Gloucester's bench. Andy Titterrell and Christian Califano are the front row options, Alex Brown returns to the squad following a shoulder injury and Luke Narraway completes the forwards.
Scrum-half Gareth Cooper will return to his former club and be joined by Chris Paterson and James Simpson-Daniel.
GLOUCESTER (V Dragons, tomorrow 7.30pm): Olly Morgan; James Bailey, Leon Lloyd, Ali James, Mark Foster; Willie Walker, Mike Prendergast; Alasdair Dickinson, Jeremy Paul, Jack Forster; Will James, Marco Bortolami (capt), Alasdair Strokosch, Andy Hazell, Gareth Delve. Reps: Andy Titterrell, Christian Califano, Alex Brown, Luke Narraway, Gareth Cooper, Chris Paterson, James Simpson-Daniel.
Speaking to the local media this week, back row flanker Jacob Rowan said that he is excited for the challenge at the Ricoh Arena this Sunday, and added that the players know the responsibility is theirs to deliver against the league leaders.
Ben Morgan was on media duty this week, and as Gloucester prepare for Sunday's trip to Wasps, the number eight is looking forward to see Gloucester go toe-to-toe with another of the Aviva Premiership's front runners.
Tom Marshall scored his first Gloucester try in the 31-23 win over Saracens on Friday evening and was named Man of the Match. Talking to GRTV, he praised the forwards for setting the tone on the night.
Matt Scott was on media duty this week, and the Scottish international spoke about the benefit of having a full week of training with his club mates and the determination to get back to performing well against Saracens this Friday evening.
Last Friday night saw Gloucester Rugby Head of Community Adam Balding present a cheque for £7082.82 to the Royal British Legion as a result of a series of fundraising during the Remembrance Period in November.
Gloucester battled bravely against Wasps on Sunday, but it was a case of taking chances at the Ricoh Arena. Gloucester didn't make the most of theirs while Wasps did, and that proved to be the difference.
Gloucester were competitive for long periods at the Ricoh Arena on Sunday afternoon, but were left to rue a host of missed scoring opportunities throughout as Wasps hit back to earn a 35-22 Aviva Premiership win.
Gloucester's Ciaran Knight made his first start at tighthead prop, Henry Walker made his first appearance as a second half replacement and Alex Seville also featured as England U20s might it three from three in the U20s Six Nations with a 46-0 win over Italy in Darlington on Friday night.