FOLLOWING a series of new player arrivals, Gloucester Rugby are delighted to announce a significant addition to the coaching staff for next season with the appointment of Carl Hogg as Academy Manager.
The former Scotland international is currently Assistant Coach of Edinburgh Gunners and will be responsible for ensuring the development of the brightest talent from Gloucester's renowned Academy into the senior 1st XV.
Former graduates of the Gloucester Academy who are now firmly established at both club and international level include James Simpson-Daniel, James Forrester, Andy Hazell, Adam Eustace, Ryan Lamb, Olly Morgan, Mark Foster, Rob Elloway and Jack Forster.
Hogg, 36, has previously held coaching roles with Leeds Tykes and London Welsh, and will also take on an active senior role alongside Dean Ryan with the development of Gloucester's forwards.
"Carl was the standout candidate from the application process and we are delighted to have him on board," head coach Dean Ryan told www.gloucesterrugby.co.uk.
"Youngsters such as Jack Forster and Olly Morgan who have established themselves in the 1st XV this season demonstrate the critical role the Academy plays, and having somebody of Carl's pedigree overseeing it is of huge importance to us."
Following last week's announcement that Assistant Coach Bryan Redpath and Mike Anthony, Head Fitness Coach, have signed contract extensions until 2009, Hogg's arrival completes the senior management setup for next season alongside Head Coach Dean Ryan and Denis Betts, Skills Coach.
"Gloucester is a massive rugby club and I'm so excited to be moving south to join them," said Hogg.
"My experiences as a player, with the academy at Leeds and more recently with the senior squad at Edinburgh have given me an excellent understanding of what it takes for a young player to progress to a senior squad and I'm really looking forward to the challenge of continuing to develop world-class talent at Gloucester."
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).