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."
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.
It's the first Gloucester-Bristol derby at Kingsholm in over eight years this Saturday (kick off 4:30pm) and, previewing the game with the local media this week, Defence Coach Jonny Bell stressed that, with both teams in the bottom half of the table, they both need the points.
Speaking to the local media this week, Gloucester front rower John Afoa knows the challenge ahead this week against Bristol, and calls on the Cherry and Whites to make the most of home advantage as a determined squad look to bounce back from a narrow loss to Saracens.
Tom Savage speaks to GRTV and the local media as Gloucester went down by 24-20 at Saracens on Sunday afternoon. The second row was disappointed with the result, despite a strong showing from the hosts.
Speaking immediately after the game, skipper Willi Heinz thought that Gloucester had executed their game plan reasonably well and competed hard against Saracens. However, it wasn't enough but the squad will have plenty to work on this week ahead of the derby match against Bristol.
Gloucester may be coming off their best win of the season, the 38-16 victory over Wasps last weekend, but Director of Rugby David Humphreys admits that Sunday's trip to Saracens is an even tougher test.
Looking to try a new sport? Look no further than Walking Rugby as thanks to Gloucester Rugby you can come along and try out the fast-growing sport at taster sessions across the county, starting this Wednesday.
Gloucester return to European Rugby Challenge Cup action on Thursday evening with the visit of Stade Rochelais to Kingsholm (kick off 7:45pm). Early Bird ticket prices are available until 6:30pm on matchday.
Talk about a game of two halves. Things looked grim on Saturday as Gloucester trailed 0-6 to Bristol at half-time. However, Matt Scott's eighth try of the season got Gloucester off and running, and the visitors fell apart as the Cherry and Whites eased to a 26-18 bonus point Aviva Premiership win.