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."
The ticket office is open from Monday to Wednesday 9am-5pm, Thursday, 9am-6.30pm and Friday 9am to 3.30. For ticket information, contact 0871 871 8781 or visit wwww.gloucesterrugby.co.uk.
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).