TWO of Gloucester Rugby's brightest young stars have signed deals that will keep them at Kingsholm until 2007.
Olly Morgan and Mark Foster have become the first players to pledge their futures to the club as head coach Dean Ryan moves to tie down a number of his brightest prospects.
Both Morgan and Foster have become key members of the squad this season that has heralded a new dawn in the development of the side and as a result have completed two-year deals.
"These guys are the future of Gloucester Rugby," Ryan told www.gloucesterrugby.co.uk. "We have recognised they represent the future of the club and we want them to be a part of it. They are young, exciting players who have started to prove themselves this season.
"It was vital the club took steps to ensure they remained at Gloucester and I am delighted everything as been concluded."
Morgan, a 20-year-old full-back from Millfield School, has played in the last four Guinness Premiership matches after coming into the side in the European Challenge Cup against Bayonne in October.
He is a former England Under-19 international and his form has been so impressive that he has kept the more experienced Jon Goodridge out of the side.
He said: "I am really happy with the way everything has been going for me so far this season.
"I think I have been playing pretty consistently in the last six or seven matches and it's nice to know I have a new two-year contract and some security.
"All I am thinking about now is the rest of the season and helping us qualify for the Heineken Cup next year and up the Premiership because that is where this team needs to be.
"I am really enjoying myself and to have my future secure is fantastic."
Foster (22) has made eight Guinness Premiership appearances this season and has one try to his name - against Saracens last month.
He also found his way to the line against Bayonne in Europe and said: "I couldn't think of a club I would rather be at.
"I was quite shocked that Dean [Ryan] wanted to sort something out so soon but it's fantastic for me and I really want to start putting down some roots at the club.
"We have a young side and it's a pleasure to be a part of it. I worked really hard during the summer with Mike Anthony [conditioner] and Bryan Redpath [assistant coach] and hopefully things have started to pay off for me.
Speaking to GRTV after the 40-29 Aviva A League win over Wasps Rugby, Academy Coach Rich Whiffin explained his pride in the squad to overcome a strong opponent and book their spot in next week's Aviva A League final.
Willi Heinz returned from injury to skipper Gloucester to a famous 16-14 win over Stade Rochelais on Saturday evening. Speaking after the game in France, Heinz admitted the win wasn't pretty but was full of courage and a great result for the club.
Billy Burns contributed all Gloucester's points in the 16-14 European Rugby Challenge Cup win in La Rochelle on Saturday evening, but dedicated the victory to the whole squad whilst also praising the travelling support.
Speaking after Gloucester's brave 16-14 win against Stade Rochelais which clinches a European Rugby Challenge Cup final spot, Director of Rugby David Humphreys paid tribute to the way the team had executed the game plan in a hostile environment against quality opposition.
Greig Laidlaw returns to the Gloucester Rugby squad this week, and his inclusion is an important one after a serious ankle injury. The Scottish scrum half is determined to drive the team forward in their European Rugby Challenge Cup semi final in La Rochelle this Saturday.
Gloucester take on La Rochelle in the European Rugby Challenge Cup semi-final in France on Saturday evening, with the Top 14 side the favourites in the eyes of the bookmakers. However, David Humphreys is looking for his side to rise to the occasion against a familiar opponent.
Speaking to GRTV after Saturday's 39-30 Aviva Premiership win over Sale, Mark Atkinson admitted that the performance wasn't perfect but that the team's character shone through in a game that could easily have slipped away.
Scotland scrum-half Greig Laidlaw is targeting a 'unique' finish to his Gloucester tenure in the European Rugby Challenge Cup final at the venue where his professional playing career began, BT Murrayfield Stadium (Friday 12 May).
Gloucester's young United side once again dug deep to take an illustrious scalp, overturning a half-time deficit to earn a 40-29 victory over Wasps and earn a place in the Aviva Premiership A League final.