ALASDAIR STROKOSCH has said he is thrilled to win the Guinness Premiership player of the month award and has set his sights on maintaining Gloucester's lead at the top of the table.
The tough tackling flanker, who has just signed a new two-year contract extension with Dean Ryan's side following his summer move from Edinburgh, has featured in nine of Gloucester's Premiership games so far this season and was instrumental in their December victories over Newcastle and Bristol.
"All I can say is that I am really shocked to win the award but really pleased at the same time," Strokosch said. "I have just been trying to fit in; play as well as I can and make a contribution for the team.
"Although it is great for me personally, I think it shows just how well we have played as a team so far this season and my aim is to keep doing as well as I can, starting on Friday against Bath.
"It has been a big learning experience for me since my move to Kingsholm but it is fantastic to have coaches and players that believe in my ability and I just want to go out and keep playing at a consistently high level and try and get even better because we are building something really sepcial at the club."
Strokosch (24), has one Scotland cap and has already become a firm favourite thanks to his durability, work-rate and application. Gloucester's head coach Dean Ryan added: "It was a big gamble for him to leave what he knew in the summer and join us but he is the sort of player who embodies exactly what we are as a side.
"He is honest, hard working and is the reason guys like Ryan Lamb and Anthony Allen can play the sort of rugby they do. It is the effort he puts in that is so crucial to us and I am delighted he has been recognised in this way because it shows it does not go un-noticed.
"Alasdair has been a fantastic signing for us and I am sure there is more to come."
Henry Purdy, a first half replacement for Charlie Sharples, was amongst the try scorers in the 64-19 victory over Aviron Bayonnais on Saturday evening and told GRTV that it was a professional performance, one the team are happy with.
Gloucester's win in Treviso last week means that they need a bonus point win against Bayonne on Saturday evening to secure a home quarter-final (kick off 8pm), but Tim Taylor wants the team to focus on the performance first and foremost.
Billy Burns and Man of the Match Richard Hibbard spoke to GRTV after the 41-0 win in Treviso, on a day when preparations weren't ideal. They felt the team's attitude was key and also praised the travelling support.
After the recent European exploits, it's more cup action for Gloucester this weekend, but it's of a domestic variety as the Cherry and Whites travel to Bath on Friday evening to resume their Anglo-Welsh Cup campaign.
Following the conclusion of the Stade Francais vs Harlequins game today, round six is complete and the quarter-finalists in the European Rugby Challenge Cup are now known with Gloucester set to welcome the Cardiff Blues to Kingsholm.