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 after the 37-8 European Rugby Challenge Cup win over Benetton Treviso, James Hook admitted that the Italian side made things tough for Gloucester at times but that the Cherry and Whites are happy to take the bonus point win and turn their focus to Northampton next week.
Speaking to GRTV after the game, Backs Coach Tim Taylor was happy with the squad as they cruised to victory over Treviso. The result wasn't in doubt, but the Cherry and Whites laboured to secure a crucial try bonus point.
Speaking to the local media this week, Gloucester Rugby centre Matt Scott is excited to take the field again as the Cherry and Whites look to build on the win in Bayonne when Treviso come to Kingsholm this Saturday.
Defence Coach Jonny Bell admitted this week that the European Rugby Challenge Cup victory in Bayonne was a welcome one, stressed that Benetton Treviso will pose a tough test on Saturday at Kingsholm but that Gloucester are determined to deliver in front of their own fans.
Motu Matu'u is looking to make up for lost time this week as the Cherry and Whites head to Basque Country to take on Bayonne in the European Rugby Challenge Cup opener. The Samoan hooker made his first appearance in the jersey last weekend, and is hoping to contribute to the team this weekend.
Gloucester's attentions turn to Europe this weekend as they travel to Bayonne for their opening fixture of this season's European Rugby Challenge Cup. Forwards Coach Trevor Woodman told GRTV that the Cherry and Whites will be aiming to top their pool as they've done for the past two seasons, but is well aware of how tough it is to win in France.
Although understandably disappointed at seeing victory slip away at the last minute, Ben Morgan said after the game at Exeter that there were plenty of positives that Gloucester could take from the game.
Gloucester made it two wins from two outings in this season's European Rugby Challenge Cup as they outplayed Benetton Treviso at Kingsholm to win by 37 points to 8, the bonus point try coming with the final play of the game.