Scotland international centre Matt Scott will make his Aviva Premiership debut as Gloucester Rugby name their side for the season opener against Leicester Tigers at Kingsholm on Friday evening (kick off 7:45pm).
Scott will take his place in a starting line-up which features ten full internationals and which will be led by his international colleague and captain Greig Laidlaw.
Billy Burns gets the nod at fly half and may well be lining up against older brother Freddie, formerly of Gloucester and now with the Tigers.
The two encounters between the two sides last were decided by a combined total of just six points and Director of Rugby David Humphreys is expecting a tough challenge against one of the league’s most consistent performers.
“This weekend against probably the most consistent team in Premiership history in terms of being in the play-offs at the end of season, Leicester are a good gauge for anybody.
“So, for us, it’s a big test but we’re happy with where we are. We’ve done well in preseason, we feel we’ve done well in the past two games. But now it’s all about getting out there and producing a big performance which results in a win.”
And Humphreys admitted that selection this week has been challenging, which is a welcome problem to have.
“That’s what you want. Sometimes you talk to people and they say, ‘Oh, you’ve got a big decision to make’. But with the good teams, the big squads, you’ve got decisions to make every week.
“That’s what we’re striving to get towards. We want that depth of squad that means that, when we sit down as a management team to pick the team for that weekend, there’s a discussion around every position.”
15. Tom Marshall; 14. Charlie Sharples, 13. Matt Scott, 12, Billy Twelvetrees, 11. Henry Purdy; 10. Billy Burns, 9. Greig Laidlaw (capt); 1. Yann Thomas, 2. Richard Hibbard, 3. John Afoa; 4. Tom Savage, 5. Mariano Galarza; 6. Ross Moriarty, 7. Matt Kvesic, 8. Ben Morgan
16. Darren Dawidiuk, 17. Paddy McAllister, 18. Paul Doran-Jones, 19. Joe Latta, 20. Jacob Rowan, 21. Willi Heinz, 22. James Hook, 23. Gareth Evans