James Bailey has joined Jon Goodridge in signing new two-year contracts
TWO OF the stars involved in Gloucester's thrilling 34-16 Guinness Premiership victory over Leicester last Friday have signed new two-year contract extensions with the Kingsholm club.
Full-back Jon Goodridge and winger James Bailey have become the latest members of Dean Ryan's squad to pledge their futures to the club until June 2008.
And the news is particularly pleasing for the pair, who combined to such devastating effect during Gloucester's first try against the Tigers last weekend.
"What can I say - I am ecstatic about staying at the club," Goodridge told www.gloucesterrugby.co.uk. "There was a time when I was not sure if I was coming or going but Dean [Ryan] pulled me aside a few weeks ago and told me I would be staying.
"I have been at the club quite a long time now and it was a great feeling. I couldn't envisage playing my rugby anywhere else so to get another two years gives me a good deal of security.
"I think that came through on Friday because I was able to go out and play with confidence in what was a great team performance."
The 24-year-old - he will turn 25 at the end of this month - made his competitive debut for Gloucester against London Irish in the 2000/1 season and has since gone on to make 61 appearances with 11 tries. Last season he was an ever present with 22 Premiership appearances to his name and in 2004 was voted the season ticket holders' Young Player of the Year. He was also shorted listed for the PRA Young Player of the Year award.
It was Goodridge's pick up and break that helped create Bailey's try against Leicester, and the former Bristol winger, who has crossed the whitewash three times this season, added: "I had to wait a long time for an opportunity but now I don't want to give my place up in the side.
"I know it's a cliché but I am just taking everything one game at a time. I got an opportunity before Christmas and ever since I have been going out and giving it my best.
"There is competition throughout the squad and I want to be a part of that. To have the security of another two years means I can start to settle down and make plans - it's a massive boost for me."
Bailey signed from Bristol in the summer of 2004 following a remarkable scoring record at the Memorial Stadium. Regarded as a sevens specialist, he has grabbed tries against Saracens, Wasps and Leicester.
In total, he has made 13 Premiership appearances but it has been this season when his breakthrough has been made.
Ryan, speaking of the contract extensions, added: "The real success of this season so far has been that nobody in the squad is guaranteed their place in the side. Jon has plenty of Premiership experience and despite limited opportunities this season, produced a really courageous performance on Friday.
"Strength in depth is vital to the success of any team and both James and Jon have come in and really taken their chances. I am delighted for the both of them and it is another sign the club is moving in the right direction."
Skipper Billy Twelvetrees led Gloucester Rugby to European glory on Friday evening, scoring the crucial try on a memorable night for the Cherry and Whites. After the game, he paid tribute to his team's performance under pressure in the latter stages as they withstood a ferocious late Edinburgh fightback.
Speaking to GRTV, James Hook admitted that, after a superb opening, Gloucester really had to pass a test of character to hold off Edinburgh and lift the European Rugby Challenge Cup. He paid tribute to his team mates for all their hard work on what was a great day for the club.
Speaking to the assembled media this week, Gloucester Rugby club captain Billy Twelvetrees explains that the squad are ready for the final and that it will be an honour to lead the Cherry and Whites out in the Challenge Cup final.
Gloucester Rugby scrum half Greig Laidlaw will line up against former team mates Edinburgh Rugby on Friday evening, but the focus is firmly on his own roles as the Cherry and Whites gear up for the EPCR Challenge Cup final at The Stoop.
Speaking to the media ahead of Friday evening's European Rugby Challenge Cup Final against Edinburgh, Director of Rugby David Humphreys stressed that his improving Gloucester team will need to perform at their best to prevail against a tough Edinburgh side.
Dan Robson, a second half try scorer in the 42-40 win over Newcastle on Saturday, admitted that Gloucester had started slowly but that the second half comeback showed real character and maintains momentum going into Friday's European final.
Gareth Evans was a first half replacement for the Cherry and Whites on Saturday afternoon, but the back rower's impressive carrying kept the hosts on the front foot when they needed it most to snatch a dramatic comeback win.
After his last ditch try clinched the 42-40 Aviva Premiership victory over Newcastle at Kingsholm on Saturday, Billy Burns told GRTV that all the Gloucester team deserve credit for hanging in there against a Falcons team who really made life tough for the Cherry and Whites.
Figures released by EPCR following Gloucester winning the European Rugby Challenge Cup on Friday evening show that, unsurprisingly, a number of those wearing Cherry and White showed up well in the various statistical categories.
Speaking after the European Rugby Challenge Cup triumph on Friday evening, Director of Rugby David Humphreys was thrilled with how the Cherry and Whites managed the game and secured the first major European silverware for nine years.
Friday night saw the Cherry and Whites lift the European Rugby Challenge Cup following the 19-13 victory over Edinburgh Rugby. The club photographer caught the best of the action and celebrations from The Stoop.
Once again for Gloucester, it went right to the very last whistle, the 14 men in Cherry and White hanging on heroically to win the European Rugby Challenge Cup by 19 points to 13 over Edinburgh at the Stoop on Friday evening.
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