GLOUCESTER RUGBY'S Willie Walker has agreed terms on a two-year contract extension that will keep him at Kingsholm until June 2010.
An outstanding option at either fly-half or full-back, Walker has established himself as a key member of Dean Ryan's squad with a series of excellent performances.
In his first start in the number 10 shirt this season, the New Zealander won the man-of-the-match award after his try-scoring performance in Gloucester's 30-17 victory over Leicester in October, and he has gone on to feature in 23 games in all competitions.
Walker's goal-kicking ability is also a vital component to Gloucester and he has registered more than 300 points since joining up at Kingsholm from Japan two years ago.
"I am thrilled to get this deal done and be staying at Gloucester," said the 29-year-old.
"This is the most competitive squad I've been involved in and our position in the table is a reflection of that. It's a really good environment to be part of, and the players and coaches work well together.
"The players we have are of the highest quality and the ones that have been recruited show we are simply not satisfied with where we are - there is so much we want to achieve and I want to be a part of that.
"My family and I are really happy living here and the fans at Kingsholm have been so supportive - I'm really pleased that things have been sorted."
Head coach Dean Ryan added: "Over the last two seasons Willie has turned in a number of outstanding performances at both fly-half and full-back. To have his versatility and reliability is key to our squad.
"He has played more than 20 times this season and his intelligence, bravery and determination are exactly the sort of qualities we need.
"Willie is a fantastic professional and I believe there is a lot more to come from him in the future. I am really pleased he has committed to Gloucester."
Previewing Friday evening's local derby at Bristol, Interim Head Coach Jonny Bell told the local media that Gloucester's preparations have gone well and that the whole squad is united in trying to finish the season on a high.
Speaking to GRTV this week, Acting Head Coach Jonny Bell spoke of his pleasure in the efforts and intensity in training from the squad after a tricky few weeks. The team were preparing for big games with Bristol and Cardiff in coming weeks.
Willi Heinz was understandably and visibly disappointed when he spoke to GRTV after the 27-30 home defeat to Harlequins, apologising to the home support as the game slipped away after seemingly having the game under control.
Speaking to the local media this week, Scottish centre Matt Scott spoke of the squad's determination to put in a big home performance against Harlequins, with vital points up for grabs in the hunt for a Top Six spot this Saturday (KO 3pm)
Looking ahead to Saturday's Aviva Premiership fixture at home to Harlequins (kick off 3pm), Head Coach Laurie Fisher told the local media that Gloucester will need to be on top of their game in a match which has big implications in terms of top six ambitions.
A big few days for the Gloucester-Hartpury Women side. First came the news that the team will compete in Women's Super Rugby next season, and on Saturday the team will play Worcester Ladies IIs at Kingsholm. Centre Hannah Jones and wing Michelle Ruddock spoke to GRTV this week to reflect on events.
Missing so many starters, and up against a team fighting for their Premiership existence, Gloucester did what had to be done at Ashton Gate on Friday evening battling their way to a 32-14 Aviva Premiership win over Bristol Rugby.