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."
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Speaking after Gloucester's brave 16-14 win against Stade Rochelais which clinches a European Rugby Challenge Cup final spot, Director of Rugby David Humphreys paid tribute to the way the team had executed the game plan in a hostile environment against quality opposition.
Greig Laidlaw returns to the Gloucester Rugby squad this week, and his inclusion is an important one after a serious ankle injury. The Scottish scrum half is determined to drive the team forward in their European Rugby Challenge Cup semi final in La Rochelle this Saturday.
Gloucester take on La Rochelle in the European Rugby Challenge Cup semi-final in France on Saturday evening, with the Top 14 side the favourites in the eyes of the bookmakers. However, David Humphreys is looking for his side to rise to the occasion against a familiar opponent.
Speaking to GRTV after Saturday's 39-30 Aviva Premiership win over Sale, Mark Atkinson admitted that the performance wasn't perfect but that the team's character shone through in a game that could easily have slipped away.
Monday evening saw Freddie Clarke in A League action against Exeter, Saturday saw him make his Aviva Premiership debut. And both games resulted in wins! Freddie spoke to GRTV after the 39-30 win over Sale.
Gloucester's young United side once again dug deep to take an illustrious scalp, overturning a half-time deficit to earn a 40-29 victory over Wasps and earn a place in the Aviva Premiership A League final.