ANTHONY ALLEN, one of the most gifted youngsters in English rugby, has pledged his future to Gloucester by signing a new two-year contract extension with Dean Ryan's Guinness Premiership pace-setters.
The 20-year-old, who has already won two England caps during the autumn internationals against New Zealand and Argentina, has agreed a deal that will keep him in Gloucester colours until 2009.
Allen's star quality is not in question and he signed for Gloucester in 2005 straight from Millfield School in Somerset. The young centre has progressed from the England Under-19s set-up, where he partnered Newcastle's Mathew Tait in midfield during the 2004 World Cup, to full honours in 2006.
In 15 Premiership appearances, he has scored seven times, including three tries this season against Leicester, Worcester and Wasps.
"Since I became a professional with Gloucester, everything has happened so fast I cannot really believe it," Allen told www.gloucesterrugby.co.uk
"My initial ambition was to try and break into the first team and I am just delighted to have been able to contribute something to what we are trying to build at the club.
"It is an honour to represent a club with such tradition and history and to have my future confirmed for another two years is a great feeling. I just want to continue to develop and learn and try and make myself a better player.
"I have had a taste of what it takes to play at a higher level and I think I am in the best environment to help me achieve that with Dean Ryan at Gloucester."
Gloucester's head coach Ryan, who has already sealed new deals for centre Jack Adams and prop Jack Forster, was equally as thrilled for the centre.
"Anthony's quality is obvious to see and to have the chance to work with him over the long-term is a fantastic position for our club to be in.
"He is a tremendous talent, makes very few mistakes and is an individual we would aim to build a team around in the future. We were delighted when he made his England debut because it confirms our thoughts on him are correct and I am sure he will only get better.
"For a young man he is exceptionally mature, he has a great attitude and is keen to learn. I am delighted he has decided to sign for us - it shows Gloucester's ambition in the long-term."
Speaking to the local media this week, front rower John Afoa is familiar with the challenge of Connacht from his time in Belfast, and the World Cup winner is fully aware of the challenge they pose ahead of Sunday's meeting in the Champions Cup play off
Speaking ahead of Gloucester's European Rugby Champions play-off against Connacht on Sunday (Kingsholm, 3:30pm), Director of Rugby David Humphreys admitted that he's glad to have more players available than in recent weeks ahead of a tough fixture.
Nick Wood captained the Cherry and Whites on Saturday afternoon, and the experienced front rower expressed his pride in the young squad in defeat to Bath on the final day of the Aviva Premiership season.
Lewis Ludlow scored Gloucester's opening try in the 30-50 defeat at Bath on Saturday, part of an impressive performance by the young back row forward. Speaking after the game, he paid tribute to the young Gloucester side who went toe to toe with the Aviva Premiership semi-finalists.
Speaking to the local media after the game, Director of Rugby David Humphreys gave an honest assessment of the game, and expressed his pride in the way his young charges had performed against the title-chasing hosts.
Speaking to the local media this week, Gloucester Rugby scrum half Callum Braley is excited by the challenge of the West Country Derby, and the ex-Bristol man reveals the squad will be giving their all.
Speaking to the local media this week, David Humphreys admitted that team selection for Saturday's Aviva Premiership fixture at Bath has not been an easy one, with numerous players ruled out due to injury and suspension. However, he pledged that whoever is wearing the Cherry and White will be 100% committed to fighting until the very last minute.
Speaking to GRTV after the 35-13 Aviva Premiership victory over London Irish, Tom Savage praised his team mates for sticking to their game plan and showing real character to clinch an impressive win despite only playing with 14 men for nearly an hour.
Gloucester snatched victory from the jaws of defeat and move on to next weekend's European Champions Cup final play-off against Bordeaux-Begles after a dramatic extra time win over a valiant Connacht side.
With Connacht Rugby the visitors to Kingsholm on Sunday (kick off 3:30pm) for Sunday's European Rugby Champions Cup play-off, Gloucester ring the changes from the side that took the field against Bath last weekend.
Matt Kvesic was a double winner at the Gloucester Rugby End of Season Awards Dinner on Tuesday, coupled with being named in the England Rugby training squad and the 23-year old is delighted with how his campaign has gone.
Gloucester Rugby held their End of Season Dinner at the Centaur at Cheltenham Racecourse this week. Amongst all the awards, Thinus Delport interviewed James Hook, Laurie Fisher, Charlie Sharples and Billy Twelvetrees.