TERRY FANOLUA, the man who has made more appearances than any other player in Premiership history for Gloucester Rugby, has opted not to take up the final year of his contract next season.
Gloucester's leading try-scorer with 38, will leave the Kingsholm club at the end of the season following nine years' service after agreeing with head coach Dean Ryan he would not see out the final year of his current deal.
Fanolua (31) joined Gloucester in 1997 as one of the first overseas players in the Premiership alongside Philippe Saint-Andre and Richard Tombs.
He has since gone on to cultivate hero status at the club he has served with total dedication and utter distinction and following his debut against Bristol almost a decade ago, he has made more than 200 appearances for the club in all competitions.
Gloucester's final Guinness Premiership home game of the season against Wasps on May 6 will now be dedicated to Fanolua and be named 'Fanolua's Farewell.'
"The decision has been taken for myself and for my family," Fanolua told www.gloucesterrugby.co.uk "Naturally, I would have loved to have stayed at the club but the final year option on my contract was just not viable for me to do so.
"I will be desperately disappointed to leave - I have spent the majority of my adult life playing for Gloucester - but this decision is the best in the long-term for me and my family.
"I have other options I am pursing at the present time but they are not likely to be in the Premiership - I couldn't imagine playing against Gloucester because I put my heart and soul into the club.
"Gloucester is my home away from home. I have met loads of great people and made really good friends and it will be very hard to leave them."
Dean Ryan, Gloucester's head coach, added: "Terry is, quite rightly, one of the biggest and most respected names in the Premiership - not just at Gloucester.
"His record is simply phenomenal and there have not been many more influential individuals at the club in the last decade. The decision will provide an opportunity for the youngsters we have in both Jack Adams and Anthony Allen to follow in Terry's footsteps."
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.