JAMES FORRESTER and Bristol Rugby's head coach, Richard Hill, have been named Guinness Premiership Player and head coach of the month for September.
In this year of anticipation for club and country, the Guinness Premiership monthly awards are especially significant; with 17 nations represented in the world's most experienced domestic league, only the most outstanding individuals will be recognised for both the award and national selection come 2007.
On his win, Forrester said: "I worked very hard over the summer to get myself in the right physical condition and I am obviously very pleased with how the season has started for myself in terms of form and fitness. But I could not have won this award without the contribution of my team-mates because the start we have made this season has been a great team effort - I think it is great for me and the team."
The voting panel Chairman, SKY's Miles Harrison, said: "For some time now, James Forrester has been a prodigious talent and his form in the first month of the Guinness Premiership may well have strengthened his case for international recognition. Certainly, those around him at Gloucester believe he has never been better equipped to meet that challenge."
Willi Heinz scored Gloucester's second try as the Cherry and Whites overturned a disappointing first 40 minutes and 0-6 half time deficit, to earn a 26-18 Aviva Premiership victory over Bristol Rugby on Saturday.
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.
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.