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."
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.