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.
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.
On a tough evening at Kingsholm, Gloucester could escape neither a suffocating Bath defence, nor the whistle of referee Greg Garner as six penalties and a penalty try paved the way to a 39-16 win for the visitors.
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).