APO SATALA, the Army number eight and former Leeds Carnegie player, has signed a contract with Gloucester until the end of the season.
Although he will still be eligible for key Army matches, Satala has made a big impression during pre-season and in a number of A team games while he has been on trial at Kingsholm. He will sit on the bench against Newcastle in the Guinness Premiership tonight.
The Fijian sevens star made his Gloucester debut as a replacement against Glasgow in August and Gloucester's head coach Dean Ryan said: "We have been hugely impressed by Apo since his involvement with us.
"His skill set has been exposed and enhanced on the sevens circuit, he is a tremendous physical presence and has added a great deal to our squad in the short time he has been involved with us. I am looking forward to working with him for the rest of the season because what we have seen so far has been very exciting.
"We naturally have a lot of quality across our back row and Apo will only add to that. I would like to thank the Army for their co-operation in allowing this deal to happen."
Satala, who scored twice for Leeds last season against Bath in the Guinness Premiership, added: "To be given this opportunity with Gloucester is something I will relish and it is now up to me to work as hard as I can.
"It has been a great experience already - I am very fortunate to be involved with such a talented squad and I am desperate to contribute as much as I can from now until the end of the season."
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.
Skipper Billy Twelvetrees, speaking to GRTV after the 35-10 over Zebre, was happy with the bonus point win over the Italian side but admitted Gloucester will need to tighten up for the return fixture in Parma.
Matt Kvesic was a try scorer and recipient of the Man of the Match award in Sunday's 35-10 European Rugby Challenge Cup win over Zebre. He praised the Italian side for their spirited opposition and admitted that next week's return game will be a tough one.
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).