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, Richard Hibbard expressed his excitement ahead of the West Country derby and that there is an extra spring in the step of the Cherry and Whites ahead of the tough challenge.
With such a short turnaround between the two games, and Gloucester looking to reintegrate several players into the line-up after the Autumn international series, Tom Savage told GRTV that the Cherry and Whites will keep changes to a minimum for the European Rugby Challenge Cup game in Zebre on Saturday.
Gloucester travel to Italy this weekend to take on Zebre in Round Four of the European Rugby Challenge Cup. The Cherry and Whites defeated the Italian side 35-10 last Sunday, but Director of Rugby David Humphreys is looking for an improved performance in the return fixture.
Skipper Billy Twelvetrees, speaking to GRTV after the 35-10 over Zebre, was happy with the bonus point win over the Italian side but admitted Gloucester will need to tighten up for the return fixture in Parma.
Gloucester Rugby welcome Sione Kalamafoni, Greig Laidlaw and Tom Palmer back to the starting line up and feature David Halaifonua in a matchday squad for the first time, as they resume Aviva Premiership action against Bath Rugby at Kingsholm on Saturday (kick off 5:30pm).