WILLIE WALKER will make his first Guinness Premiership start of the season tomorrow in the number 10 shirt against Leicester at Welford Road (6pm).
The Kiwi comes into the side for Ryan Lamb as head coach Dean Ryan once again rotates his squad for the clash between the teams at the top of the table.
"Ryan has been in excellent form for us and it was fantastic he was named as the Guinness Premiership's player of the month for September because it recognised his huge talent and development.
"But I have made it clear since the start of the season that the value in a nine month season is the strength of the squad, Willie is a great option for us and we want to see him in action. We have had this system in place since the start of the season - it is also applies to the forwards."
The inclusion of Walker is one of two changes from the backline that started against Worcester last Saturday. Try-scorer James Simpson-Daniel misses out with a hamstring injury that means Leon Lloyd returns to the wing to face his former club.
Iain Balshaw is still out with a groin strain, while Lesley Vainikolo recovers from muscle damage in his neck. Mark Foster returns to the bench.
Walker will be partnered at half-back by scrum-half Mike Prendergast, Mike Tindall and Anthony Allen line-up in the centre, while Lloyd, James Bailey and Olly Morgan complete the back three.
On the bench, Wales scrum-half Gareth Cooper will be included in the squad for the first time following his World Cup commitments with Wales and there is also a place for lock Will James.
Ryan has also made one change to his forward pack - rotating his front row options by include prop Patrice Collazo at loose-head in place of Nick Wood. Collazo's last start was against Leeds on the opening weekend of the season.
Olivier Azam will make his 100th Premiership appearance tomorrow at hooker. Carlos Nieto is at loose-head.
Skipper Peter Buxton retains the number four shirt alongside Alex Brown in the second row, while Alasdair Strokosch, Andy Hazell and Luke Narraway form the back row combination.
On the bench, Gloucester have opted for a four-three forward split, including a complete front row. Wood will be joined by Christian Califano and hooker Andy Titterrell, while James completes Ryan's forward options.
Foster is the cover for centre and wing, Cooper comes into the squad for the first time, while Lamb completes the 22.
"We have made a very encouraging start and so have Leicester so it has got all the makings of a very attractive game," Ryan said. "Players are coming back from World Cup duty and the important thing for us now is that they enhance what we have already achieved since the start of the season.
"Leicester have been massively depleted by World Cup commitments but as befits a club of their strength, have made a great start. We are all looking forward to this contest - Welford Road is a great place to play rugby, both teams are playing well and it should be a great occasion.
Gloucester supporters are reminded that the Shed Bar will be open from 1.30pm on Saturday to show England's World Cup quarter-final against Australia before Gloucester's game against Leicester. All draught beers £2.50.
GLOUCESTER (v Leicester, tomorrow 6pm): Olly Morgan; Leon Lloyd, Mike Tindall, Anthony Allen, James Bailey; Willie Walker, Mike Prendergast; Patrice Collazo, Olivier Azam, Carlos Nieto, Peter Buxton (capt), Alex Brown, Alasdair Strokosch, Andy Hazell, Luke Narraway. Reps: Andy Titterrell, Christian Califano, Nick Wood, Will James, Gareth Cooper, Mark Foster, Ryan Lamb.
Speaking to the local media this week, front rower John Afoa is familiar with the challenge of Connacht from his time in Belfast, and the World Cup winner is fully aware of the challenge they pose ahead of Sunday's meeting in the Champions Cup play off
Speaking ahead of Gloucester's European Rugby Champions play-off against Connacht on Sunday (Kingsholm, 3:30pm), Director of Rugby David Humphreys admitted that he's glad to have more players available than in recent weeks ahead of a tough fixture.
Nick Wood captained the Cherry and Whites on Saturday afternoon, and the experienced front rower expressed his pride in the young squad in defeat to Bath on the final day of the Aviva Premiership season.
Lewis Ludlow scored Gloucester's opening try in the 30-50 defeat at Bath on Saturday, part of an impressive performance by the young back row forward. Speaking after the game, he paid tribute to the young Gloucester side who went toe to toe with the Aviva Premiership semi-finalists.
Speaking to the local media after the game, Director of Rugby David Humphreys gave an honest assessment of the game, and expressed his pride in the way his young charges had performed against the title-chasing hosts.
Speaking to the local media this week, Gloucester Rugby scrum half Callum Braley is excited by the challenge of the West Country Derby, and the ex-Bristol man reveals the squad will be giving their all.
Speaking to the local media this week, David Humphreys admitted that team selection for Saturday's Aviva Premiership fixture at Bath has not been an easy one, with numerous players ruled out due to injury and suspension. However, he pledged that whoever is wearing the Cherry and White will be 100% committed to fighting until the very last minute.
Speaking to GRTV after the 35-13 Aviva Premiership victory over London Irish, Tom Savage praised his team mates for sticking to their game plan and showing real character to clinch an impressive win despite only playing with 14 men for nearly an hour.
With Connacht Rugby the visitors to Kingsholm on Sunday (kick off 3:30pm) for Sunday's European Rugby Champions Cup play-off, Gloucester ring the changes from the side that took the field against Bath last weekend.
Matt Kvesic was a double winner at the Gloucester Rugby End of Season Awards Dinner on Tuesday, coupled with being named in the England Rugby training squad and the 23-year old is delighted with how his campaign has gone.
Gloucester Rugby held their End of Season Dinner at the Centaur at Cheltenham Racecourse this week. Amongst all the awards, Thinus Delport interviewed James Hook, Laurie Fisher, Charlie Sharples and Billy Twelvetrees.