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.
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.