JAKE BOER will wear the captain's arm-band for tomorrow's final Guinness Premiership match of the season at Kingsholm against Newcastle (4.30pm).
The South African flanker, who will return home at the end of the season to pursue business interests, has been handed the honour by Gloucester's regular skipper Marco Bortolami.
Boer skippered the club in 2002/03 when Gloucester lifted the Powergen Cup and finished the regular season top of the Premiership and then for part of the following season before Adam Balding took over.
"I think the gesture from Marco is a wonderful one towards a wonderful player in this club's history," said head coach Dean Ryan.
"Marco has shown what a great individual he is, both on and off the field this season, and I think it is very fitting that a player of Jake's credibility within the game and the obvious deep affection he has with Gloucester supporters is honoured in this way.
"He has had a great career, been part of the club during a very successful period and is thoroughly deserving of his send off - he has been a fantastic player."
Boer comes into the side in place of Peter Buxton, who moves to the bench after making 18 Premiership appearances so far this season. Lock Alex Brown is ruled out with a shoulder injury which means Will James retains his place alongside the returning Bortolami.
There is also a change at hooker, where Mefin Davies comes in for Olivier Azam, who moves to the bench and Carlos Nieto is back for Jack Forster, who is also on the bench.
In the backs, England centre Mike Tindall returns following a knee complaint picked up in the win over France and will partner Anthony Allen in the centre.
James Simpson-Daniel returns to the wing with James Bailey, while Willie Walker completes the back three.
Ryan Lamb and Peter Richards continue at half-back and Rory Lawson returns to the bench after international duty with Scotland.
"Tomorrow will be an emotional day in a number of ways and that makes it of even greater significance," Ryan added. "We got the job done last weekend but nothing more and we need to be more clinical.
"Like ourselves, Newcastle play the game in the right way. They have some wonderful players with ball in hand and it should be a cracking encounter. You cannot fail to be impressed with the way they approach the game and they will be very dangerous.
"We just need to get our game right, concentrate on what makes us tick and try and get the job done."
GLOUCESTER (V Newcastle, tomorrow 4.30pm): Willie Walker, James Bailey, Mike Tindall, Anthony Allen, James Simpson-Daniel; Ryan Lamb, Peter Richards; Nick Wood, Mefin Davies, Carlos Nieto, Will James, Marco Bortolami, Jake Boer (capt), Andy Hazell, James Forrester. Reps: Olivier Azam, Jack Forster, Adam Eustace, Peter Buxton, Rory Lawson, Mark Foster, Jon Goodridge.
Speaking to the local media this week, Richard Hibbard expressed his excitement ahead of the West Country derby and that there is an extra spring in the step of the Cherry and Whites ahead of the tough challenge.
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.
Gloucester Rugby welcome Sione Kalamafoni, Greig Laidlaw and Tom Palmer back to the starting line up and feature David Halaifonua in a matchday squad for the first time, as they resume Aviva Premiership action against Bath Rugby at Kingsholm on Saturday (kick off 5:30pm).