JAKE BOER, Gloucester Rugby's South African-born flanker, has agreed a new one-year contract extension to remain at Kingsholm until 2007.
One of the most influential members of Dean Ryan's squad, Boer is re-establishing the sort of form that carried him to the Zurich Premiership player of the year award in 2003 - the same season he lifted the Powergen Cup with Gloucester - and the same campaign when he walked away with the Overseas Player of the Year award.
Arguably Gloucester's form back rower at present, Boer joined Gloucester in 2000 from London Irish and has since made 127 Premiership appearances with 20 tries for the club as well as enjoying a stint as captain.
"I love playing for Gloucester - I always have and always will," Boer said. "Last season was not the easiest for anyone involved with the club but I feel I am getting back to the form of a couple of season's ago.
"I don't think my effort and commitment has ever been in question and now I just want to concentrate on getting Gloucester as far up the Guinness Premiership as possible and continuing our quest in Europe.
"To have the security of another year is really pleasing and I just want to get on with the rest of the season now - I am delighted everything has been concluded."
Equally at home at number six or eight, Boer produced an outstanding performance against Leicester last weekend and Ryan added: "I am delighted Jake has signed for another year - at present he is our form back row forward.
"He has consistently made top-quality contributions and that is a very important factor with a lot of young players coming through behind.
"I think he is back to where he was a year or so a go when he was one of Gloucester's stand-out performers. He does the majority of his talking on the field and is hugely competitive which is why we want him around."
Defence Coach Jonny Bell admitted this week that the European Rugby Challenge Cup victory in Bayonne was a welcome one, stressed that Benetton Treviso will pose a tough test on Saturday at Kingsholm but that Gloucester are determined to deliver in front of their own fans.
Motu Matu'u is looking to make up for lost time this week as the Cherry and Whites head to Basque Country to take on Bayonne in the European Rugby Challenge Cup opener. The Samoan hooker made his first appearance in the jersey last weekend, and is hoping to contribute to the team this weekend.
Gloucester's attentions turn to Europe this weekend as they travel to Bayonne for their opening fixture of this season's European Rugby Challenge Cup. Forwards Coach Trevor Woodman told GRTV that the Cherry and Whites will be aiming to top their pool as they've done for the past two seasons, but is well aware of how tough it is to win in France.
Although understandably disappointed at seeing victory slip away at the last minute, Ben Morgan said after the game at Exeter that there were plenty of positives that Gloucester could take from the game.
Speaking after a last-gasp try from Exeter earned the Chiefs a 27-27 draw at Sandy Park on Saturday, Charlie Sharples admitted to mixed feelings. The game saw him score a try on his 200th competitive appearance for the club, but the frustration from not closing out the win was clear.
David Humphreys was minutes away from a winning interview on Saturday afternoon, but a late try from Exeter Chiefs meant the points were shared at Sandy Park. Humphreys spoke with the local media after the 27-27 draw.
Speaking to the media ahead of Saturday's Aviva Premiership fixture away at Exeter Chiefs, Director of Rugby David Humphreys reiterated that there are elements of Gloucester's game that are in good shape at present, that the performance against Bath was a step forward from Newcastle but that individual errors are costing the Cherry and Whites dear.
Centre Matt Scott, a try-scorer in Bayonne last weekend, insists that Gloucester are taking nothing for granted when they welcome Benetton Treviso to Kingsholm on Saturday in the European Rugby Challenge Cup (kick off 3pm).