Gloucester Rugby are delighted to announce that England international number eight Luke Narraway has signed a two-year extension to his current contract that keeps him at Kingsholm until June 2012.
The 26-year-old, who joined Gloucester's academy straight from Kings School in Worcester, has made more than 100 appearances for the club since his debut away at Leeds in 2003.
Having represented England at U18, U21 and Saxons levels, Narraway made his full England debut against Wales at Twickenham in the 2008 Six Nations Championship. On the summer tour of New Zealand later that year, he confirmed his status as one of the country's leading back row forwards with a series of excellent displays, and has now won 7 caps in total.
Head Coach Bryan Redpath admitted that Narraway's is a key signing for the club:
"We're very pleased that Luke has committed to Gloucester as, on his day, he is one of the best number eights in the game."
"Luke's played all his rugby here and understands what it takes to be a Gloucester player. His challenge now is to continue to develop his game and deliver consistency so he can achieve his club and international ambitions, and we'll work hard to help him achieve this."
Narraway himself admitted that interest from elsewhere was flattering but that it wasn't a difficult decision to commit to Gloucester.
"The spirit in the squad is probably the best I've known since I've been at Gloucester, and the results over the last few weeks show that we're moving in the right direction," he said.
"Gloucester is a special place to play rugby - the stadium, the supporters, training facilities and off-field set-up; it's the whole package."
Speaking to the local media this week, Richard Hibbard expressed his excitement ahead of the West Country derby and that there is an extra spring in the step of the Cherry and Whites ahead of the tough challenge.
With such a short turnaround between the two games, and Gloucester looking to reintegrate several players into the line-up after the Autumn international series, Tom Savage told GRTV that the Cherry and Whites will keep changes to a minimum for the European Rugby Challenge Cup game in Zebre on Saturday.
Gloucester travel to Italy this weekend to take on Zebre in Round Four of the European Rugby Challenge Cup. The Cherry and Whites defeated the Italian side 35-10 last Sunday, but Director of Rugby David Humphreys is looking for an improved performance in the return fixture.
On a tough evening at Kingsholm, Gloucester could escape neither a suffocating Bath defence, nor the whistle of referee Greg Garner as six penalties and a penalty try paved the way to a 39-16 win for the visitors.
Gloucester Rugby welcome Sione Kalamafoni, Greig Laidlaw and Tom Palmer back to the starting line up and feature David Halaifonua in a matchday squad for the first time, as they resume Aviva Premiership action against Bath Rugby at Kingsholm on Saturday (kick off 5:30pm).