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.
Fly-half Billy Burns was named Man of the Match after the 35-14 European Rugby Challenge Cup victory over Stade Rochelais on Thursday evening, and was full of praise for all his team mates for the win after a short turnaround.
Gloucester have been in good form in recent weeks, but Backs Coach Tim Taylor knows that the Cherry and Whites will have to be at their best on Thursday evening (kick off 7:45pm) against a Stade Rochelais side flying high this season.
Speaking to GRTV after the bonus point win over Bristol, back row Lewis Ludlow revealed that despite a tricky first half, Gloucester backed their skills to come through, a faith that was evident in a strong second half showing.
Willi Heinz scored Gloucester's second try as the Cherry and Whites overturned a disappointing first 40 minutes and 0-6 half time deficit, to earn a 26-18 Aviva Premiership victory over Bristol Rugby on Saturday.
Gloucester's much changed side had to overcome conceding an early try on Thursday evening, but responded in style to down Stade Rochelais by 35 points to 14 in the European Rugby Challenge Cup and set up a mouthwatering return fixture next weekend.
After taking 11 points from their last three games in the Aviva Premiership, including bonus point wins against Wasps and Bristol, Gloucester will be looking to continue their good form when they welcome La Rochelle to Kingsholm.