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 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).