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."
Gloucester travel to Oyonnax for the second round of the European Rugby Challenge Cup on Saturday evening, and Director of Rugby David Humphreys is expecting a big test from the French side, feeling that their league position doesn't reflect their recent performances.
Speaking exclusively to Gloucester Rugby TV, Matt Kvesic explained that his decision to extend his contract at Kingsholm was a simple one and that he was hugely excited for the future in Cherry and White.
Speaking after the 55-0 win over CA Brive, Jonny May told GRTV that he's delighted that the team's hard work is starting to pay dividends but was equally happy for his friend and team mate, Charlie Sharples, on what was a big night for his fellow winger.
Speaking to the local media this week, David Humphreys insisted that Gloucester are looking forward to kicking off the new European Rugby Challenge Cup against Brive on Thursday evening, although an unfamiliar opponent and a five day turnaround will pose a challenge.