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.
Speaking to the local media this week, back row flanker Jacob Rowan said that he is excited for the challenge at the Ricoh Arena this Sunday, and added that the players know the responsibility is theirs to deliver against the league leaders.
Ben Morgan was on media duty this week, and as Gloucester prepare for Sunday's trip to Wasps, the number eight is looking forward to see Gloucester go toe-to-toe with another of the Aviva Premiership's front runners.
Tom Marshall scored his first Gloucester try in the 31-23 win over Saracens on Friday evening and was named Man of the Match. Talking to GRTV, he praised the forwards for setting the tone on the night.
Matt Scott was on media duty this week, and the Scottish international spoke about the benefit of having a full week of training with his club mates and the determination to get back to performing well against Saracens this Friday evening.
Last Friday night saw Gloucester Rugby Head of Community Adam Balding present a cheque for £7082.82 to the Royal British Legion as a result of a series of fundraising during the Remembrance Period in November.
Gloucester battled bravely against Wasps on Sunday, but it was a case of taking chances at the Ricoh Arena. Gloucester didn't make the most of theirs while Wasps did, and that proved to be the difference.
Gloucester were competitive for long periods at the Ricoh Arena on Sunday afternoon, but were left to rue a host of missed scoring opportunities throughout as Wasps hit back to earn a 35-22 Aviva Premiership win.
Gloucester's Ciaran Knight made his first start at tighthead prop, Henry Walker made his first appearance as a second half replacement and Alex Seville also featured as England U20s might it three from three in the U20s Six Nations with a 46-0 win over Italy in Darlington on Friday night.