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 the media following the 31-33 West Country Challenge Cup defeat to Exeter Chiefs at the Memorial Stadium, Director of Rugby David Humphreys was full of praise for his side's battling qualities in a bruising encounter but concerned about the injuries picked up.
The West Country Challenge Cup fixture against the Exeter Chiefs at the Memorial Stadium in Bristol on Saturday (kick off 3pm) will be Gloucester's last chance to work on things like new combinations says Director of Rugby, David Humphreys.
Speaking after the 30-21 West Country Challenge Cup defeat at Bath, Director of Rugby David Humphreys spoke of the improvements his team are making as preseason progresses but acknowledges that there is still work to do ahead of the start of the Aviva Premiership.
Speaking to the local media ahead of Saturday's trip to Bath Rugby in the West Country Challenge Cup, front rower Nick Wood spoke of the hard work put in across the extended preseason and highlighted the competition for front row spots in the squad.
Gloucester have named a 30 man squad for the latest round of West Country Challenge Cup action against Bath on Saturday, with Director of Rugby David Humphreys stressing the need to keep an eye on player workload ahead of what will be a long, tough season.
Describing the 50-7 West Country Challenge Cup win over Bath on Sunday as a '...good hit out...', wing Charlie Sharples admitted that it had been a good opportunity to put into practice things that the squad have been trying out in training in recent weeks.
Speaking to the local media after the 50-7 victory over Bath Rugby on Sunday, David Humphreys was happy with his squad's effort, with the most important aspect being the game time earned by his players.
Gloucester make wholesale changes to the side that started at Exeter last Saturday as they prepare to take on Bath at the Memorial Stadium, Bristol on Sunday in the West Country Challenge Cup (kick off 3pm). The Director of Rugby told GRTV that the players are raring to go and that he's looking forward to seeing different combinations in action.
A late penalty from Exeter fly-half Will Hooley gave the Chiefs a narrow 33-31 West Country Challenge Cup win over a heroic Gloucester outfit in a bruising encounter at the Memorial Stadium on Saturday.
Gloucester Rugby will play their fourth and final West Country Challenge Cup fixture this weekend (Memorial Stadium, Bristol, 3pm) against the Exeter Chiefs, and have named a side featuring a host of first regulars.
On Wednesday evening, Gloucester Rugby duo Mark Atkinson and Tom Savage visited local rugby club Hardwicke and Quedgeley Harlequins RFC for the first session as part of the Gloucester Rugby in Local Clubs coaching initiative.