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.
Named Man of the Match by BT Sport, scrum-half Willi Heinz said after the 15-11 win at Bath on Friday evening that it was a pretty happy Gloucester dressing room and reward for a lot of hard work put in during the week leading up to the game.
Speaking after the 15-11 win over Bath at the Rec on Friday evening, David Humphreys heaped praise on his players, pointing out how they had bounced back after last week's tough defeat to overcome a rough start before controlling the game and earning the win.
Gloucester Rugby hooker Richard Hibbard spoke to the local media this week as the Cherry and Whites prepare to face Bath Rugby in the Aviva Premiership. The Welshman is ready to bounce back at The Rec.
Speaking to the local media about the local derby against Bath at the Rec on Friday evening, Director of Rugby David Humphreys acknowledged that it will be a tough encounter but hugely exciting at the same time and one the squad are looking forward to.
A visibly disappointed Billy Twelvetrees admitted that it was a very sombre Gloucester dressing room as a last minute try and conversion condemned the Cherry and Whites to an 18-19 defeat against Leicester Tigers on Saturday.
A disappointed Tom Savage told GRTV, after the 18-19 defeat at home to the Leicester Tigers, that the whole Gloucester team had put in a fantastic effort, but just couldn't find the extra one or two percent necessary to put away a top side.
Speaking after the narrow loss to Leicester Tigers on Saturday afternoon, David Humphreys says despite there being a lot of good in Gloucester's performance, he rued the failure to close the game out, as well as thanking the home support
Kiwi second row Jeremy Thrush is thoroughly enjoying his time in Cherry and White so far, and this weekend the Leicester Tigers are the visitors to Kingsholm, and the All Black is massively excited about the challenge.
After two wins in the European Rugby Challenge Cup, securing a home quarter-final, David Humphreys told the local media this week that Gloucester are coming into Saturday's game in good physical shape having rotated the squad. However, he and the squad are prepared for a tough encounter against the Tigers.
It's almost four years since Gloucester won a Premiership game at the Rec against Bath. However, they got that monkey off their back on Friday evening with a hard-fought 15-11 win in testing conditions.