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."
Gloucester meet the Exeter Chiefs for the fourth time in competitive action this weekend, this time in the semi-final of the European Rugby Challenge Cup. Director of Rugby David Humphreys told the local media this week that this is the sort of game that Gloucester want to be involved in on a regular basis and that he and his team are looking forward to it.
Following the 29-26 loss to Harlequins, club captain Billy Twelvetrees spoke of his disappointment that the Cherry and Whites were unable to cash in on the home side's indiscipline and lose a lead on Saturday afternoon.
Number eight Gareth Evans admitted to a collective feeling of frustration as Gloucester lost narrowly at Harlequins on Saturday, but insisted that there are plenty of positives to draw upon ahead of next Saturday's European Rugby Challenge Cup semi-final at home to Exeter.
Gloucester travel to the Stoop on Saturday afternoon to take on Harlequins in the Aviva Premiership. The Cherry and Whites make just two changes from last weekend's win over Connacht as they seek consistency and continuity in their play as Nick Walshe told the local media this week.
Speaking to GRTV after the final whistle, Tom Palmer praised the Cherry and Whites concentration and desire to hold on to a narrow 14-7 victory. The second row topped the tackle charts with 19 as he led the home team's resistance.
Supporters who are still to purchase tickets for Saturday's European Rugby Challenge Cup semi-final at home to Exeter Chiefs at Kingsholm (kick off 7:45pm) are reminded that Early Bird prices are only valid until 6:30pm on Thursday evening.
The Gloucester Wheelchair Rugby team travelled to Fenton Manor Complex, Stoke on Trent last Saturday to take part in the final round of the GBWR Super Series of the season, knowing just one win would be enough to crown them Division 3 Champions.