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."
Jonny May's superb late score capped a thrilling 40-32 European play-off win over Connacht on Sunday. The winger spoke afterwards of his team's character and spirit as he looked ahead to one more week of rugby.
Speaking to GRTV this afternoon, Director of Rugby David Humphreys hailed the 'never say die' attitude of the team, after despite not being at their best, fighting back to take a 40-32 win after extra time over Connacht.
Jonny May continues on the wing on Sunday as Connacht come to town, and the England wing explains to the local media this week that he is delighted with his form and is looking forward to taking on Pat Lam's men.
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.
At the recent London Irish game, personnel from the Imjin Barracks in Innsworth, including Gurkhas, were present, holding a collection to raise funds for ShelterBox to aid relief from the recent Nepal Earthquake Appeal.
It was a thriller at Kingsholm on Sunday afternoon, as Gloucester snatched victory from the jaws of defeat, leveling the scores in the final minute before triumphing in extra time over a spirited Connacht side.