GLOUCESTER'S tear-away flanker Jake Boer has appealed to the conscience of the Kingsholm faithful to come out and support Mark Cornwell's Testimonial match.
The former club skipper and one of the most instantly recognisable and respected members of the Gloucester squad, the back row forward has told www.gloucesterrugby.co.uk that Cornwell represents the soul of the club.
Gloucester will face Viadana at Kingsholm next Friday, August 26 - a game that is not free to season ticket holders - to complete their pre-season preparations in a fixture that represents the pinnacle of Cornwell's year of celebrations.
And Boer said: "I would ask supporters to take five minutes of their time to think about and appreciate what Mark has done for the club. Gloucester is a place where rugby means everything and that is why I hope they are aware of the importance of the game.
"Mark is a man who has given his body and soul to the game and Gloucester and that needs to be recognised by the fans. "To stay in any job for 10 years is an achievement but to stay at the same club as a professional rugby player for a decade is remarkable. He is a loyal servant and it's an admirable thing to have done.
"He has also bridged the gap between amateurism and professionalism and that has proved just how successful he has been - I hope people recognise that and come to the game."
Cornwell is only Gloucester's second ever player to be granted a Testimonial, following in the footsteps of legendary prop Andy Deacon, who became the first ever the year before he retired. With Deacon's retirement and Chris Fortey's switch to Worcester, the number of Gloucester-born players within Dean Ryan's squad is dwindling.
Only Cornwell, Adam Eustace, Jack Adams, Brad Davies, Ryan Lamb and Andy Hazell are from the city, which makes the achievement even more remarkable.
"I have played a lot of games with Mark and although his banter can get a bit annoying at times, he brings a tremendous spirit to the squad," Boer added.
"Hopefully he will be appreciated in his game - it's what he deserves."
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