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."
Speaking ahead of Saturday's Aviva Premiership fixture at home to Newcastle Falcons (kick off 3pm), Director of Rugby David Humphreys emphasised the importance this weekend of Gloucester building on last week's impressive home victory against the Exeter Chiefs.
Speaking to the assembled national and local media, try-scorer Jonny May was delighted and relieved to have tasted victory on Saturday evening, and is looking forward to the European Rugby Challenge Cup final.
Tom Savage delivered a Man of the Match performance against Exeter Chiefs on his birthday on Saturday evening. He spoke to GRTV after the game about the importance of the European Rugby Challenge Cup win.
Speaking to the local media this week, John Afoa described the hard work that the Cherry and White have been putting in and that he is fighting fit ready for Saturday's European Rugby Challenge Cup semi final clash with Exeter Chiefs.
Gloucester Rugby face Exeter Chiefs this Saturday in the European Rugby Challenge Cup semi-final, and Charlie Sharples, who starts at full back is relishing the challenge of the big Kingsholm occasion.
Gloucester meet the Exeter Chiefs for the fourth time in competitive action this weekend, this time in the semi-final of the European Rugby Challenge Cup. Director of Rugby David Humphreys told the local media this week that this is the sort of game that Gloucester want to be involved in on a regular basis and that he and his team are looking forward to it.
Following the 29-26 loss to Harlequins, club captain Billy Twelvetrees spoke of his disappointment that the Cherry and Whites were unable to cash in on the home side's indiscipline and lose a lead on Saturday afternoon.
Number eight Gareth Evans admitted to a collective feeling of frustration as Gloucester lost narrowly at Harlequins on Saturday, but insisted that there are plenty of positives to draw upon ahead of next Saturday's European Rugby Challenge Cup semi-final at home to Exeter.
Gloucester Rugby return to Aviva Premiership action against the Newcastle Falcons on Saturday (Kingsholm, kick off 3pm), and make several changes to the side that defeated Exeter Chiefs at home last weekend.
With a fantastic rugby season coming to a thrilling climax and the prospect of the world's best battling it out in our back garden in September and October, there has never been a better time to quiz your Gloucester Rugby and home nation heroes on what makes them tick.