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.
Defence Coach Jonny Bell admitted this week that the European Rugby Challenge Cup victory in Bayonne was a welcome one, stressed that Benetton Treviso will pose a tough test on Saturday at Kingsholm but that Gloucester are determined to deliver in front of their own fans.
Motu Matu'u is looking to make up for lost time this week as the Cherry and Whites head to Basque Country to take on Bayonne in the European Rugby Challenge Cup opener. The Samoan hooker made his first appearance in the jersey last weekend, and is hoping to contribute to the team this weekend.
Gloucester's attentions turn to Europe this weekend as they travel to Bayonne for their opening fixture of this season's European Rugby Challenge Cup. Forwards Coach Trevor Woodman told GRTV that the Cherry and Whites will be aiming to top their pool as they've done for the past two seasons, but is well aware of how tough it is to win in France.
Although understandably disappointed at seeing victory slip away at the last minute, Ben Morgan said after the game at Exeter that there were plenty of positives that Gloucester could take from the game.
Speaking after a last-gasp try from Exeter earned the Chiefs a 27-27 draw at Sandy Park on Saturday, Charlie Sharples admitted to mixed feelings. The game saw him score a try on his 200th competitive appearance for the club, but the frustration from not closing out the win was clear.
David Humphreys was minutes away from a winning interview on Saturday afternoon, but a late try from Exeter Chiefs meant the points were shared at Sandy Park. Humphreys spoke with the local media after the 27-27 draw.
Speaking to the media ahead of Saturday's Aviva Premiership fixture away at Exeter Chiefs, Director of Rugby David Humphreys reiterated that there are elements of Gloucester's game that are in good shape at present, that the performance against Bath was a step forward from Newcastle but that individual errors are costing the Cherry and Whites dear.
Centre Matt Scott, a try-scorer in Bayonne last weekend, insists that Gloucester are taking nothing for granted when they welcome Benetton Treviso to Kingsholm on Saturday in the European Rugby Challenge Cup (kick off 3pm).