Adam Balding has completed a new deal at Gloucester
ADAM BALDING, Gloucester Rugby's club captain, has become the latest member of Dean Ryan's squad to pledge his future to Kingsholm.
The number eight has sealed a new two-year contract extension that will keep him at Gloucester until June 2008.
He joins youngsters Olly Morgan, Mark Foster and Nick Wood in finalising long-term deals at Kingsholm this season.
"To be honest with you, I am just thrilled," Balding, told www.gloucesterrugby.co.uk. "It seems so long ago since my Leicester days and I like to think I have moved on to bigger and better things.
"I am so pleased with how everything is going and just glad I have the chance to play my part in Gloucester's future for another two years.
"My ambition is to push myself even harder and to play a big part in the team during 2006. My job now is to contribute to the success of this team."
Head coach Dean Ryan added: "Adam is one of our senior players and it is great to secure him to the club long-term.
"He is a player who leads by example, is supremely competitive and is somebody we want to work with for a long time. I am really pleased it has been concluded so quickly.
"To have someone of Adam's ability at the club is a major boost for us."
Balding, who signed from Leicester two years ago, fractured a cheekbone in three places on the opening day of the season against Worcester Warriors.
But the 26-year-old has recovered to resume his position on the back of the Gloucester scrum. His form, attitude and sheer commitment were the standout features during Gloucester's late charge last season that ended in play-off disappointment against Saracens at Twickenham.
However, he was rewarded for his efforts by being made club captain at the start of this season and has made 34 appearances with four tries in his Gloucester career.
It's the first Gloucester-Bristol derby at Kingsholm in over eight years this Saturday (kick off 4:30pm) and, previewing the game with the local media this week, Defence Coach Jonny Bell stressed that, with both teams in the bottom half of the table, they both need the points.
Speaking to the local media this week, Gloucester front rower John Afoa knows the challenge ahead this week against Bristol, and calls on the Cherry and Whites to make the most of home advantage as a determined squad look to bounce back from a narrow loss to Saracens.
Tom Savage speaks to GRTV and the local media as Gloucester went down by 24-20 at Saracens on Sunday afternoon. The second row was disappointed with the result, despite a strong showing from the hosts.
Speaking immediately after the game, skipper Willi Heinz thought that Gloucester had executed their game plan reasonably well and competed hard against Saracens. However, it wasn't enough but the squad will have plenty to work on this week ahead of the derby match against Bristol.
Gloucester may be coming off their best win of the season, the 38-16 victory over Wasps last weekend, but Director of Rugby David Humphreys admits that Sunday's trip to Saracens is an even tougher test.
After a series of contract announcements last week, hooker Richard Hibbard is the latest Gloucester Rugby player to commit to a new contract at the club and told GRTV how much he enjoys playing in the Cherry and White of Gloucester.
Talk about a game of two halves. Things looked grim on Saturday as Gloucester trailed 0-6 to Bristol at half-time. However, Matt Scott's eighth try of the season got Gloucester off and running, and the visitors fell apart as the Cherry and Whites eased to a 26-18 bonus point Aviva Premiership win.