MARK FOSTER, Gloucester Rugby's highly regarded winger, has agreed a new one-year contract extension at Kingsholm.
Despite the arrivals of former rugby league legend Lesley Vainikolo and the availability of England internationals Iain Balshaw and James Simpson-Daniel, Foster has established himself as key element in Dean Ryan's Guinness Premiership title-chasing squad.
He has made 10 appearances in all competitions this season and his one Premiership try came in Gloucester's vital 34-14 victory over London Irish in March. After joining the Academy set-up at the age 18 in 2002, Foster progressed to Gloucester's A League side and in 68 first team appearances he has scored 19 tries.
That included 10 in 28 appearances in 2005-06 during Gloucester's European Challenge Cup campaign that ended with victory over London Irish.
"Gloucester has been a part of my life for a long time, it is a unique place to play professional rugby and I am thrilled to have this opportunity to play my part in what is a great squad of players," Foster said.
"Over the last three seasons I feel I have developed my game really well but my aim now is to play a key part towards the end of the season. I have the ability to score tries at Premiership level and when the opportunity comes I want to take it.
"It's no secret that Dean Ryan and his coaching set-up is establishing Gloucester at the forefront of the domestic and European game and that is very exciting prospect to be involved in. Gloucester have probably never had such a talented group of players and so to be involved in that is fantastic - but I just want to be build on it and become an even better player."
Gloucester's head coach Ryan was delighted Foster had committed himself to the club and said: "I have said repeatedly it is not about 15 players but a group and Mark has shown over an extended period of time just what a good player he is at Premiership level.
"He has the ability to score very important tries, is young and has been around the squad for a long time. Mark knows what it means to be involved with a club like Gloucester and that is very important. He is striving to improve all the time and that attitude is very important."
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.