GLOUCESTER'S head coach Dean Ryan has named a side containing 12 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, Iain Balshaw retains his place at full-back and Karl Pryce comes in on the wing for his first start.
"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, Foster and Pryce.
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): Iain Balshaw; Karl Pryce, 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, James Bailey.
As Gloucester prepare for their 39th game of the season, against Bordeaux-Begles at Sixways on Sunday, David Humphreys told the local media that this week has been all about getting the players mentally and physically ready after a tough game against Connacht last Sunday.
Speaking to GRTV after the 40-32 victory over Connacht on Sunday, skipper Billy Twelvetrees explained that Gloucester had had to learn to be patient and cut out the errors to earn the win and progress to next weekend's final play-off against Bordeaux-Begles.
Jonny May's superb late score capped a thrilling 40-32 European play-off win over Connacht on Sunday. The winger spoke afterwards of his team's character and spirit as he looked ahead to one more week of rugby.
Speaking to GRTV this afternoon, Director of Rugby David Humphreys hailed the 'never say die' attitude of the team, after despite not being at their best, fighting back to take a 40-32 win after extra time over Connacht.
Jonny May continues on the wing on Sunday as Connacht come to town, and the England wing explains to the local media this week that he is delighted with his form and is looking forward to taking on Pat Lam's men.
When the Gloucester Rugby squad and staff report for their first day of preseason training on Wednesday morning, they will be greeted with a new look training kit from XBlades Sports ready for the first sessions.
This Sunday, hop on your bicycle and join up with the Pied Piper Sportive to test out new challenging routes across the county with Gloucester Rugby's Kingsholm Stadium the start and finish of the ride.