Gloucester Rugby can today confirm the signing of experienced Tongan hooker Aleki Lutui from Edinburgh Rugby.
The 35 year old, who spent last season at Edinburgh Rugby, has put pen to paper on a deal that brings him to Kingsholm as the Cherry and Whites continue to build their squad ahead of the 2014-15 season.
Lutui joined Edinburgh in April 2013 following seven seasons and 168 appearances for Worcester Warriors, a club he joined in 2006 from the Chiefs in Super Rugby.
He joins fellow Tongans Sione Kalamafoni and Sila Puafisi in the Gloucester Rugby squad, and the experience gained from representing his country 33 times and playing in two Rugby World Cups will be vital to Gloucester.
The former police officer is a powerful ball carrier known for his work rate and consistency, and will provide essential strength in depth amongst the Gloucester Rugby hookers alongside Darren Dawidiuk and new arrival Richard Hibbard.
Lutui is looking forward to the prospect of joining up with his new team mates when they return for pre-season training in late June, as he told the club website.
"I know a lot about Gloucester having faced them several times in my Worcester days. It's a great club and I always enjoyed playing against them.
"I was also in the Edinburgh side that played Gloucester at Murrayfield last season, and the support that the away fans gave the team made a real impression on me. To have those supporters shouting for me is something I cannot wait for.
"To be representing a club with the history such as Gloucester will be an honour, as will linking up with my fellow countrymen, Sila and Sione.
"I look forward to working with all the front row players, Darren and Richard in particular, and helping to form a strong unit up front. It's going to be an exciting season."
Defence Coach Jonny Bell admitted this week that the European Rugby Challenge Cup victory in Bayonne was a welcome one, stressed that Benetton Treviso will pose a tough test on Saturday at Kingsholm but that Gloucester are determined to deliver in front of their own fans.
Motu Matu'u is looking to make up for lost time this week as the Cherry and Whites head to Basque Country to take on Bayonne in the European Rugby Challenge Cup opener. The Samoan hooker made his first appearance in the jersey last weekend, and is hoping to contribute to the team this weekend.
Gloucester's attentions turn to Europe this weekend as they travel to Bayonne for their opening fixture of this season's European Rugby Challenge Cup. Forwards Coach Trevor Woodman told GRTV that the Cherry and Whites will be aiming to top their pool as they've done for the past two seasons, but is well aware of how tough it is to win in France.
Although understandably disappointed at seeing victory slip away at the last minute, Ben Morgan said after the game at Exeter that there were plenty of positives that Gloucester could take from the game.
Speaking after a last-gasp try from Exeter earned the Chiefs a 27-27 draw at Sandy Park on Saturday, Charlie Sharples admitted to mixed feelings. The game saw him score a try on his 200th competitive appearance for the club, but the frustration from not closing out the win was clear.
David Humphreys was minutes away from a winning interview on Saturday afternoon, but a late try from Exeter Chiefs meant the points were shared at Sandy Park. Humphreys spoke with the local media after the 27-27 draw.
Speaking to the media ahead of Saturday's Aviva Premiership fixture away at Exeter Chiefs, Director of Rugby David Humphreys reiterated that there are elements of Gloucester's game that are in good shape at present, that the performance against Bath was a step forward from Newcastle but that individual errors are costing the Cherry and Whites dear.
Centre Matt Scott, a try-scorer in Bayonne last weekend, insists that Gloucester are taking nothing for granted when they welcome Benetton Treviso to Kingsholm on Saturday in the European Rugby Challenge Cup (kick off 3pm).