GLOUCESTER Rugby have completed a revised contract with Hartpury College prop Jack Forster.
Originally on a one-year deal that expired next summer, head coach Dean Ryan has moved quickly to secure the services of the 18-year-old tighthead until June 2007 following a series of impressive displays in the Guinness A League.
Forster is in his first year of an Agriculture and Land Management degree at Hartpury after switching from Sale. He has already represented England at Under-16 and 18 level and is now a member of the Junior National Academy.
"We have already seen enough potential to know we want him around in the future," Ryan told www.gloucesterrugby.co.uk. "It was an opportunity for us to show confidence in him and now he has a great foundation from which to learn over the next two years."
Forster produced a rounded contribution during Gloucester's victory over Bristol on Monday night - scrummaging well, carrying possession and tackling effectively - to delight Ryan and Academy coach Carl Douglas.
And Forster added: "Obviously to get a contract was something I really wanted to do and to have done it so soon is fantastic. I just wanted to make an impact and to show people what I could do - in my rugby and my college course.
"I have got tremendous people to learn from like Phil Vickery and one-on-one sessions with Patrice Collazo and everything is going well for me at the club and the college."
Gloucester Rugby face Exeter Chiefs this Saturday in the European Rugby Challenge Cup semi-final, and Charlie Sharples, who starts at full back is relishing the challenge of the big Kingsholm occasion.
Gloucester meet the Exeter Chiefs for the fourth time in competitive action this weekend, this time in the semi-final of the European Rugby Challenge Cup. Director of Rugby David Humphreys told the local media this week that this is the sort of game that Gloucester want to be involved in on a regular basis and that he and his team are looking forward to it.
Following the 29-26 loss to Harlequins, club captain Billy Twelvetrees spoke of his disappointment that the Cherry and Whites were unable to cash in on the home side's indiscipline and lose a lead on Saturday afternoon.
Number eight Gareth Evans admitted to a collective feeling of frustration as Gloucester lost narrowly at Harlequins on Saturday, but insisted that there are plenty of positives to draw upon ahead of next Saturday's European Rugby Challenge Cup semi-final at home to Exeter.
Gloucester travel to the Stoop on Saturday afternoon to take on Harlequins in the Aviva Premiership. The Cherry and Whites make just two changes from last weekend's win over Connacht as they seek consistency and continuity in their play as Nick Walshe told the local media this week.
Speaking to GRTV after the final whistle, Tom Palmer praised the Cherry and Whites concentration and desire to hold on to a narrow 14-7 victory. The second row topped the tackle charts with 19 as he led the home team's resistance.
Recent meetings between these two teams have often been thrillers, and this was no exception. It went down to the final few minutes, but Gloucester produced the goods when it mattered to qualify for the European Rugby Challenge Cup Final, beating Exeter 30-19.
Supporters who are still to purchase tickets for Saturday's European Rugby Challenge Cup semi-final at home to Exeter Chiefs at Kingsholm (kick off 7:45pm) are reminded that Early Bird prices are only valid until 6:30pm on Thursday evening.
The Gloucester Wheelchair Rugby team travelled to Fenton Manor Complex, Stoke on Trent last Saturday to take part in the final round of the GBWR Super Series of the season, knowing just one win would be enough to crown them Division 3 Champions.