GLOUCESTER'S head coach Dean Ryan has named a side containing 13 full internationals for the visit of Newcastle Falcons in the EDF Energy Cup tomorrow (3pm).
Australian international hooker Jeremy Paul will make his debut in Gloucester's front row alongside loose-head prop Alasdair Dickinson, who also starts for the first time this season and Christian Califano completes the front three.
While Alex Brown takes a break in the second row, Marco Bortolami gets the opportunity to forge a partnership with Will James at lock and will also skipper the side for the first time this season.
In the back row, Peter Buxton, who has featured in every match so far this season, is not included which means Alasdair Strokosch will wear number six. Akapusi Qera will start his second game in succession on the openside and Adam Balding wears number eight for his first start this season.
"We see this as a great opportunity to assess our options, continue the integration of a number of players who have not had a great deal of rugby with us this season and show some sort of kick-back from our defeat last weekend," said head coach Dean Ryan.
"I think you only have to look at this side to see how important this game is for us and our squad strength reflects that. We were disappointed with a number of the processes against London Irish last week and we want to put that right.
"It is important we see the likes of Jeremy Paul involved with us - he has been fantastic since his arrival - and we also want to see other combinations in action as soon as possible."
There will also be a new half-back pairing where Rory Lawson partners Chris Paterson and James Simpson-Daniel returns from a three-week hamstring injury to partner Anthony Allen in centre.
The back three is also shifted around - Mark Foster comes in for his first start of the season in place of James Bailey, Olly Morgan returns at full-back and Iain Balshaw switches to the wing.
"We have a lot of talent and a lot of options available to us and we want a platform to move into for forthcoming games," Ryan added.
"There is an opportunity for us to move into a more stable environment going forward but we want guys to put their hands up and show us what they can do and for that reason we view it as a great opportunity."
The only players not to be capped at senior level in the starting XV are Balding and Foster.
On the bench, Andy Titterrell and Jack Forster are the front row options, Jonathan Pendlebury returns to the matchday squad and Luke Narraway completes the forward options.
Gareth Cooper, who has been out of action for a fortnight with a hamstring strain, returns alongside Willie Walker and Karl Pryce.
"Gareth Delve was close to inclusion but this game is a week too early - he is doing everything the squad is now and is making progress," Ryan added.
GLOUCESTER (v Newcastle, tomorrow, 3pm): Olly Morgan; Iain Balshaw, James Simpson-Daniel, Anthony Allen, Mark Foster; Chris Paterson, Rory Lawson; Alasdair Dickinson, Jeremy Paul, Christian Califano, Marco Bortolami (capt), Will James, Alasdair Strokosch, Akapusi Qera, Adam Balding. Reps: Andy Titterrell, Jack Forster, Jonathan Pendlebury, Luke Narraway, Gareth Cooper, Willie Walker, Karl Pryce.
TICKETS for tomorrow's game are still available from the hotline number on 0871 871 8781 (option 2) or from the ticket office tomorrow.
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Speaking to the local media this week, Scottish centre Matt Scott spoke of the squad's determination to put in a big home performance against Harlequins, with vital points up for grabs in the hunt for a Top Six spot this Saturday (KO 3pm)
Looking ahead to Saturday's Aviva Premiership fixture at home to Harlequins (kick off 3pm), Head Coach Laurie Fisher told the local media that Gloucester will need to be on top of their game in a match which has big implications in terms of top six ambitions.
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