ALL BLACK prop Greg Somerville has signed a two-and-a-half-year contract with Gloucester Rugby, and will complete the move to Kingsholm from the Canterbury Crusaders in December following the completion of the New Zealand domestic season.
The versatile prop, who can play either loose-head or tight-head, has a wealth of experience as one of the most distinguished front row forwards in the southern hemisphere.
Somerville, 30, became the most decorated prop in New Zealand history with 59 caps when he appeared for the All Blacks against England in the second Test in Christchurch on Saturday. A renowned scrummaging expert, he will be a hugely important addition to Dean Ryan's squad.
"The market is now making players of Greg's experience, calibre and undoubted expertise available and once we appreciated his interest and desire to add significantly to our squad, we were thrilled to sign him," Ryan told www.gloucesterrugby.co.uk
"To have represented the All Blacks in more than 50 Test matches and be versatile to operate on either side of the scrum, means he is an outstanding acquisition for us at this stage of his career.
"With the likes of Christian Califano and Patrice Collazo leaving the club, we needed an option that could benefit us long-term and we have managed to combine experience, versatility and expertise in one package and that is fantastic for the club."
Somerville made his debut for Canterbury in an NPC semi-final in 1998, was a Crusader the following season, and an All Black within two years of his first representative appearance.
He made his Test debut in 2000 against Tonga and the Hawke's Bay-raised prop became the fourth man to play a century of matches for the Crusaders when he featured in the 2006 Super 14 semi-final victory over the Bulls.
Somerville said: "I have achieved virtually everything possible in New Zealand rugby and to have represented the All Blacks will always be something very special to me.
"But this opportunity has developed and the chance to experience a new culture for myself and my family, and contribute to a side that is already right at the top of the English Premiership was an exciting opportunity to take up.
"I am looking forward to contributing to Dean Ryan's side and prove myself in different conditions and against different opponents.
"Gloucester's front row options are already very talented and I am looking forward to adding to that mix next season."
Talking to the RFU podcast after England's 32-3 win over Argentina, Billy Twelvetrees admitted that there were still areas to work on, but that everyone in the camp was pretty pleased with a job well done.
When he joins Gloucester Rugby later this summer, Matt Kvesic will do so as a full England international. The openside flanker has been named to start against Argentina on Saturday and spoke to RFU.com about the prospect.
Ben Morgan, Tom Johnson and Henry Thomas spoke to Russ Hargreaves this week as they were about to do some DIY work at Chobham RFC as part of Natwest Rugby Force. On the agenda for discussion were, of course, England's forthcoming games but also the trio's painting prowess.
With ADEY Professional Heating Solutions now unveiled as Gloucester Rugby's new main sponsor from July 2013, managing Director Kelvin Stevens spoke to the club website about the reasons for getting involved with the club.
Gloucester Rugby CEO Stephen Vaughan was delighted to introduce ADEY Professional Heating Solutions as the club's new main sponsor this week. He spoke to the club website about the exciting new partnership.
Although understandably disappointed following the 40-39 defeat at Exeter, Freddie Burns thought that both teams fully contributed to a great spectacle but that a couple of refereeing decisions were key to the outcome.
Gloucester's final game of the season ended in a narrow defeat in a pulsating encounter at the Exeter Chiefs. The Cherry and Whites went down 40-39, as Gareth Steenson's dramatic late penalty meant that the end of Director of Rugby Nigel Davies' first season in charge ended in defeat. Davies spoke to the official website in the Devon sunshine.
They've come close several times over the years but England U20s finally defeated the Baby Blacks on Tuesday evening to qualify for the final of the Junior World Championship where they will take on Wales.
The Gloucester Rugby Academy has established a production line of rugby talent in recent times, and Assistant Academy Manager Simon Lane is confident that the latest generation are going to step up to the mark.
Ross Moriarty and Elliott Stooke have both been named in the England U20s side to take on New Zealand in the semi-final of the IRB Junior World Championship in Vannes, France, on Tuesday June 18, kick off 1945 (GMT).
The J.P. Morgan Premiership Rugby 7s Series sweeps across the country this summer with pool matches at Gloucester Rugby, Northampton Saints and Saracens on 1,2 and 3 August, and the Final at Bath Rugby on 9 August.
British and Irish Lions Head Coach Warren Gatland has named his squad for the match in Canberra against Super 15 side ACT Brumbies, with injuries hitting the squad Gloucester Rugby's Billy Twelvetrees was drafted in to the touring party and he starts at inside-centre for Tuesday's match.