Gloucester Rugby Club received a massive boost ahead of Friday night's Heineken Cup clash away at Ulster with the news that Phil Vickery has signed a contract extension that will see the 28 year-old prop stay at the Kingsholm club until the end of the 2006/07 season.
The England and Lions international had two seasons to run on his current four-year contract, and the new package has added an extra year.
Vickery, who has made more than 120 appearances for the Kingsholm club, returned to first team duties on Sunday with a full 80 minutes after missing the last six weeks with a blow-out fracture around the eye area.
Commenting on http://www.gloucesterrugbyclub.com/ director of rugby Nigel Melville said: "It was great to have Vicks back involved on Sunday. He brings massive experience and leadership to the squad, and the new contract means he'll be part of the set-up here as we continue to develop.
"I believe that we've still to see the best of him. I said last week I'd never seen him train so hard as he has done, and that's great news for both Phil and us.
"He's got some great years ahead of him and we're pleased that those will be spent here at Kingsholm."
Vickery, who made his debut for Gloucester in the 1996/97 season, added: "I'm pleased my future is at Kingsholm. It's been a mixed season so far what with injuries and team results, but I want to be part of where this club is going, and it's now the start of a mission for us.
"We know how important Friday's game is, and that is followed by a Powergen Cup quarter-final and then key Premiership games. We know what we've got to do in the next few months."
Gloucester recorded a 32-20 win over La Rochelle on Thursday evening, and second row Jeremy Thrush was thrilled to pick up the victory on his first taste of a trip to France and the hostile atmosphere.
Gloucester were forced to battle for their 33-20 victory in La Rochelle on Thursday evening, something that centre Bill Meakes said that he and the squad were well prepared for as well as thanking the travelling support for the part they played.
Gloucester got off to a winning start in the European Rugby Challenge Cup last weekend, but Head Coach Laurie Fisher is expecting a much tougher challenge when the Cherry and Whites travel to La Rochelle for Thursday night's Round Two encounter.
Dan Thomas was a try scorer in the 14-62 defeat at the hands of the Barbarians on Tuesday evening, but told GRTV after the game that he'd really enjoyed taking on the Barbarians and locking horns with Ardie Savea at the breakdown.
After a long, hard battle to return to fitness, Henry Trinder made his long awaited comeback in the second half of the 23-10 win over Zebre on Saturday and admitted he was taken aback by the reception he got from the Kingsholm crowd.
21 year old number eight Lewis Ludlow formed part of a physical back row effort in the 23-10 European Rugby Challenge Cup over Zebre on Saturday. Speaking to GRTV after the game, he spoke of making the most of his chances and being happy to contribute to the Gloucester win.
Gloucester United kick off their Aviva Premiership A League campaign against Leicester Tigers at Welford Road on Monday evening (kick off 7pm) and have named a side which features lots of first team experience.