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."
Fly-half Billy Burns was named Man of the Match after the 35-14 European Rugby Challenge Cup victory over Stade Rochelais on Thursday evening, and was full of praise for all his team mates for the win after a short turnaround.
Gloucester have been in good form in recent weeks, but Backs Coach Tim Taylor knows that the Cherry and Whites will have to be at their best on Thursday evening (kick off 7:45pm) against a Stade Rochelais side flying high this season.
Speaking to GRTV after the bonus point win over Bristol, back row Lewis Ludlow revealed that despite a tricky first half, Gloucester backed their skills to come through, a faith that was evident in a strong second half showing.
Willi Heinz scored Gloucester's second try as the Cherry and Whites overturned a disappointing first 40 minutes and 0-6 half time deficit, to earn a 26-18 Aviva Premiership victory over Bristol Rugby on Saturday.
Gloucester's much changed side had to overcome conceding an early try on Thursday evening, but responded in style to down Stade Rochelais by 35 points to 14 in the European Rugby Challenge Cup and set up a mouthwatering return fixture next weekend.
After taking 11 points from their last three games in the Aviva Premiership, including bonus point wins against Wasps and Bristol, Gloucester will be looking to continue their good form when they welcome La Rochelle to Kingsholm.