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."
It's the first Gloucester-Bristol derby at Kingsholm in over eight years this Saturday (kick off 4:30pm) and, previewing the game with the local media this week, Defence Coach Jonny Bell stressed that, with both teams in the bottom half of the table, they both need the points.
Speaking to the local media this week, Gloucester front rower John Afoa knows the challenge ahead this week against Bristol, and calls on the Cherry and Whites to make the most of home advantage as a determined squad look to bounce back from a narrow loss to Saracens.
Tom Savage speaks to GRTV and the local media as Gloucester went down by 24-20 at Saracens on Sunday afternoon. The second row was disappointed with the result, despite a strong showing from the hosts.
Speaking immediately after the game, skipper Willi Heinz thought that Gloucester had executed their game plan reasonably well and competed hard against Saracens. However, it wasn't enough but the squad will have plenty to work on this week ahead of the derby match against Bristol.
Gloucester may be coming off their best win of the season, the 38-16 victory over Wasps last weekend, but Director of Rugby David Humphreys admits that Sunday's trip to Saracens is an even tougher test.
After a series of contract announcements last week, hooker Richard Hibbard is the latest Gloucester Rugby player to commit to a new contract at the club and told GRTV how much he enjoys playing in the Cherry and White of Gloucester.
Talk about a game of two halves. Things looked grim on Saturday as Gloucester trailed 0-6 to Bristol at half-time. However, Matt Scott's eighth try of the season got Gloucester off and running, and the visitors fell apart as the Cherry and Whites eased to a 26-18 bonus point Aviva Premiership win.