Alex Brown will skipper Gloucester Rugby on Saturday evening as they kick off their preseason campaign with an away fixture in Leinster (kick-off 5pm).
Brown, who is celebrating a testimonial season alongside Nick Wood in 2012-13, will lead out a side that features a number of players making their first appearance in the Cherry and White.
Summer signings Rob Cook, Shane Monahan, Billy Twelvetrees and Sione Kalamafoni all start while Martyn Thomas is named amongst the replacements.
An away fixture against the current Heineken Cup holders will be a testing opener for Gloucester but it’s exactly the sort of examination that Director of Rugby Nigel Davies is looking for at this point in time.
“This is a great fixture to start with, it’s a great test for us. It’s a real asset to have our first game against Leinster because one aspect they really pride themselves on is the contact area.
“So that will be a huge challenge for us. We’re focusing on a couple of areas, we’ll have a pretty focused game and we’ll aim to get a few areas right in the next couple of games.
“If we get those areas right then I know the rest of our game will fall into place.”
And, after all the fitness work, preseason training and participation in the JP Morgan Asset Management Premiership Rugby 7s, Davies stressed that his squad are now itching for some competitive rugby.
“The boys have trained well this week and they have been setting personal bests on speed and strength tests.
“We’ve consolidated well in what we’ve been doing in the last few weeks and months, but now it’s all about getting our heads down and focusing on the final phase of our preparation for the season.
“And that obviously is the preseason games. Now we’ve got to focus on the rugby, get our heads down and do our talking on the pitch.
“We’ve done more than enough work in preparation, and we’re ready for a game now, to find out where we are.”
Gloucestery: Rob Cook; Shane Monahan, Tim Molenaar, Billy Twelvetrees, Ian Clark; Tim Taylor, Dave Lewis; Yann Thomas, Darren Dawidiuk, Shaun Knight; Tom Savage, Alex Brown (capt); Peter Buxton, Andy Hazell, Sione Kalamafoni Replacements: Koree Britton, Dan Murphy, Dario Chistolini, Will James, Rob Langley, Gareth Evans, Dan Robson, Martyn Thomas, James Simpson-Daniel, Mike Tindall.