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."
Speaking to the local media this week ahead of the Bath Rugby game, Head Coach Laurie Fisher stressed that the fundamental shape of Gloucester's game is in good shape but that the Cherry and Whites have to look after the ball better and make more of their scoring opportunities.
Skipper for the day Willi Heinz faced the cameras after the 13-18 home loss to Newcastle and expressed real frustration at not being able to back up last week's win at Sale, calling it a performance he and his team-mates are not proud of.
Speaking after the game, Charlie Sharples described it as 'the win that has eluded us.' The winger stressed that Gloucester had stayed positive after the first couple of weeks of the Aviva Premiership season and the 26-13 victory over Sale was a result of that focus.
Gloucester Rugby picked up their first win of the new Aviva Premiership season on Friday night, easing to a 26-13 win on the road at Sale Sharks. Director of Rugby David Humphreys was full of praise for his players on the night.
Greig Laidlaw is back to skipper Gloucester Rugby in Saturday's Aviva Premiership derby game against Bath Rugby at Kingsholm. James Hook will make his first start of the season at full-back and Billy Twelvetrees will make his 100th competitive appearance for the club.
Wednesday evening saw the launch of the Cherry and White Wednesday show on the Drivetime programme on BBC Radio Gloucestershire, with Henry Trinder live in the studio to kick off a regular weekly slot.