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.
With such a short turnaround between the two games, and Gloucester looking to reintegrate several players into the line-up after the Autumn international series, Tom Savage told GRTV that the Cherry and Whites will keep changes to a minimum for the European Rugby Challenge Cup game in Zebre on Saturday.
Gloucester travel to Italy this weekend to take on Zebre in Round Four of the European Rugby Challenge Cup. The Cherry and Whites defeated the Italian side 35-10 last Sunday, but Director of Rugby David Humphreys is looking for an improved performance in the return fixture.
Skipper Billy Twelvetrees, speaking to GRTV after the 35-10 over Zebre, was happy with the bonus point win over the Italian side but admitted Gloucester will need to tighten up for the return fixture in Parma.
Matt Kvesic was a try scorer and recipient of the Man of the Match award in Sunday's 35-10 European Rugby Challenge Cup win over Zebre. He praised the Italian side for their spirited opposition and admitted that next week's return game will be a tough one.