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."
Gloucester will field a reshuffled side against the Ospreys in the LV= Cup this weekend, but Backs & Attack Coach Nick Walshe stressed that it's a great opportunity for everyone on duty on Saturday and that maintaining the recent winning run is very important.
Skipper Billy Twelvetrees told GRTV after the win in Brive that the game could have been a tough one to get up for, but that his Gloucester team mates did themselves proud on the night and got a big result.
Reflecting on the 31-20 victory in Brive on Thursday evening, Director of Rugby David Humphreys said that clinching a home European Rugby Challenge Cup quarter-final was the overall aim and duly achieved.
Gloucester may have already clinched a home European Rugby Challenge Cup quarter-final, but Director of Rugby David Humphreys wants his side to finish the pool stages on a winning note in Brive on Thursday evening.
Speaking after Saturday's win, James Hudson was happy to record a bonus-point win against a hugely physical Oyonnax side as Gloucester secured their passage into the European Rugby Challenge Cup Quarter Finals
Billy Burns was a try scorer on his first European start for Gloucester and, speaking after the game, admitted that it was good to get the five points although there are still things to work on before the trip to Brive.
Gloucester Rugby have added to their front row strength in depth for next season with the signings of Paul Doran-Jones, Paddy McAllister and Nicky Thomas from Harlequins, Aurillac and the Ospreys respectively.