KARL PRYCE, one of the most electrifying and dangerous young talents in rugby league, has joined Gloucester Rugby from Bradford Bulls on a three-year contract.
The 20-year-old played a crucial role in the Bulls' march to the play-offs this season - which ended with a defeat to Hull at the final eliminator stage on Friday evening - scoring 17 tries in just 21 appearances.
At 6'6" and weighing in at 118kg, Pryce joined up with his new team-mates today in a cross-code switch that has been solely initiated and funded by Gloucester Rugby.
"Karl's try-scoring record for Bradford speaks for itself - he has enormous pedigree and will prove a significant addition to the Gloucester squad," head coach Dean Ryan told www.gloucesterrugby.co.uk.
"We have been watching him for some time and believe that his physical presence will complement our other options in the back line. Rather than bring someone over from rugby league who only has a couple of years remaining at the highest level, in Karl we have a young player who we can work with to develop his skills and make a force in rugby union.
"It's a tremendous endorsement of what we are trying to build here at Gloucester that a player of Karl's potential has decided to switch codes to be a part of it."
Pryce, meanwhile, said: "I'm delighted to be joining Gloucester and can't wait to hit the ground running.
"I've had a wonderful time at Bradford and want to thank everyone involved with the club, including an amazing set of supporters, for some fantastic memories. We've had another good season, but when the opportunity arose to try a different code and challenge myself in new arenas, it proved to strong to resist.
"I took advice from a number of people closest to me and without exception they said that Gloucester was the right club to be at. They have a fantastic set-up, excellent training facilities and quality coaches who I know I will learn from.
"Dean has high ambitions for the squad and I am determined to play a big role in realising them."
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).