Gloucester Rugby are today able to provisionally confirm their preseason opponents as the squad prepare for the 2009-10 season.
Preseason kicks off with a fixture against local rivals Bath Rugby at Kingsholm on August 15th.
This is no ordinary preseason friendly but will acknowledge the service of one of Gloucester Rugby's most loyal servants as it will be Andrew Hazell's testimonial match.
It could be said that no fixture against Bath ever be considered a friendly(!), but such an opponent seems appropriate for Hazell's big day.
Irish province Connacht will be the visitors to Kingsholm a week later with Gloucester's third and final preseason fixture taking place against the Ospreys at the Liberty Stadium over August Bank Holiday weekend.
Kick off times will be confirmed at a later date whilst the exact date of the Ospreys fixture will be confirmed once Swansea City's fixture list has been confirmed.
Locking horns with the Welsh province will whet the appetite with the most recent meeting, of course, having been the EDF Energy Cup semi final at the Ricoh Stadium in March this year.
But the teams have also seen plenty of each other in recent seasons in the Heineken Cup and the group stages of the EDF Energy Cup and it's always a competitive fixture.
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.