AKAPUSI QERA, the hard-hitting Fijian openside flanker, has become the latest Gloucester player to commit himself to the club by agreeing a two-year contract extension at Kingsholm.
The 23-year-old - one of the players of the 2007 Rugby World Cup - has taken the Guinness Premiership and Heineken Cup by storm since his arrival at Kingsholm in October with a series of eye-catching performances.
Qera joins team-mates including Ryan Lamb, Olly Morgan and Alasdair Strokosch who have all recently agreed new long-term deals with the current Guinness Premiership leaders.
"I've been made to feel really welcome by everyone associated with the club since I arrived and I'm very happy to sign up for another two years," Qera said.
"Working every day with such a strong squad is a real challenge but I know I have the ability to play a big role in what we are trying to achieve here at Gloucester.
"Kingsholm is a fantastic place to play rugby and I've been really pleased to force my way into the side and show the fans what I can do."
Qera joined Gloucester in the summer from National Division One side Pertemps Bees after a stand-out season in which he scored a remarkable 16 tries from loose forward.
He went on to help Fiji to a quarter-final appearance at the Rugby World Cup in France with three tries in four appearances.
Qera's new deal with the club will keep him at Kingsholm until at least June 2010.
"I think it is pretty obvious to people who watch Gloucester regularly that Akapusi is a special talent," acknowledged head coach Dean Ryan.
"He offers us different options - he is a line-breaker, a destructive tackler and an athlete who is also blessed with tremendous pace.
"To get our outstanding young players like Q, Ryan Lamb and Alasdair Strokosch onto long-term deals is a massive bonus to us in terms of stability as we move forward.
"There is a lot Q still has to learn, but he is in the right environment at Gloucester that we can support him in making sure he achieves his potential in the game."
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).