Bryan Redpath has signed a new contract at Gloucester
TWO of the men responsible for ensuring Heineken Cup rugby returns to Kingsholm next season have signed contract extensions to keep them at Gloucester until 2009.
Assistant coach Bryan Redpath and fitness and conditioning expert Mike Anthony have agreed extensions to their existing deals that ensure they will remain at Kingsholm for another three seasons.
Redpath, (33), joined Gloucester in the summer after a distinguished playing career that took him from Melrose to Edinburgh, Narbonne and Sale as well as 60 caps for Scotland at scrum-half.
He linked up alongside head coach Dean Ryan before the start of the current campaign in his first senior coaching role on a two-year deal.
"The project we have at Gloucester has enthralled me and it is something I very much want to see through and develop because we have an outstanding group of individuals," he told www.gloucesterrugby.co.uk.
"This is obviously my first senior coaching role and I am delighted the club want to keep me involved long-term. We have made really positive strides in a short period of time and we want to continue that, build on it and make the club very successful.
"Next season we are in the Heineken Cup - a competition that excites us all immensely - and that means we will all test our abilities at a higher level. To be involved until 2009 means we are working with one of the most exciting groups of players in the country at the most important stage of their development."
Anthony is the former All Blacks and Canterbury Crusaders fitness and conditioning expert and joined the club in the summer of 2004 under former director of rugby Nigel Melville. He spent seven years with the Crusaders, where he won three Super 12 titles and was also involved in the 2003 World Cup.
Since his involvement with the club, Anthony has revolutionised the way Gloucester prepares physically and has been instrumental in raising fitness levels.
"When I joined the club two years ago I said it would take three years to get fitness levels to a standard we wanted and now the challenge is to take them even further," Anthony said.
"Gloucester is one of the biggest names in English rugby but we want to build that reputation right across Europe. I have made no secret of the fact I wanted to stay at the club and continue the journey we have all started.
"This season we have made huge amounts of progress on and off the field but there is so much more we all want to achieve and I cannot wait to be a part of it.
"We are creating an environment on and off the field that I think is unique in the English Premiership and for me and my family that was very important. We are working with a young, exciting and extremely gifted group of players and that made my decision pretty easy."
Speaking after the 15-3 Aviva Premiership defeat at Northampton, Director of Rugby David Humphreys couldn't criticise his team's effort in difficult conditions, but pinpointed the errors and indiscipline that allowed Stephen Myler to kick the home team to victory.
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Northampton away was the first Gloucester game under David Humphreys last season, but the Director of Rugby told the local media that the Cherry and Whites are a different proposition compared to 12 months ago and are looking forward to the challenge.
Having skippered Gloucester against the Barbarians last week, Nick Wood once again wore the captain's armband on Monday evening as Gloucester United kicked off their Aviva Premiership A League campaign with a bonus point win at Leicester.
Gloucester recorded a 32-20 win over La Rochelle on Thursday evening, and second row Jeremy Thrush was thrilled to pick up the victory on his first taste of a trip to France and the hostile atmosphere.
Gloucester were forced to battle for their 33-20 victory in La Rochelle on Thursday evening, something that centre Bill Meakes said that he and the squad were well prepared for as well as thanking the travelling support for the part they played.
Gloucester got off to a winning start in the European Rugby Challenge Cup last weekend, but Head Coach Laurie Fisher is expecting a much tougher challenge when the Cherry and Whites travel to La Rochelle for Thursday night's Round Two encounter.
After missing out on Gloucester's two recent European fixtures, Jonny May is back on the left wing for Friday evening's Aviva Premiership fixture at Northampton, while Mariano Galarza is named in the matchday squad for the first time this season.