NICK WOOD, one of the brightest front row prospects in the country, has signed a new two-year contract extension with Gloucester that will keep him at Kingsholm until July 2008.
The loosehead prop, who has represented England at Under-21 level, is regarded as one of the biggest talents at the club by head coach Dean Ryan and joins Mark Foster and Olly Morgan who have already pledged their futures to Gloucester.
Wood has made five starts in all competitions this season and has two tries to his name. In total, he has started 18 times for Gloucester and has made 15 more appearances as a replacement. His new deal will begin in July 2006.
"Nick is a player who has a very bright future and we have made it our business to keep talented players like him at the club," Ryan told www.gloucesterrugby.co.uk
"He is learning all the time with the players he has around him and developing very quickly. There are not many young, talented props around so to keep him at Gloucester is great news for us."
Wood, who will turn 23 on January 9, has been a senior member of the club for three years after spending two in the Academy set-up that has already produced first team stars like James Forrester and Marcel Garvey.
"The contract is fantastic news because it means I can concentrate on playing rugby and I know my future is secure - that is very important," Wood said.
"I have been pleased with the contribution I have made in the games I have played so far. I would obviously like to play more but I have a player in front of me who is vastly experienced and it is my job to learn from him.
"I am working on ensuring my body can handle the pressures of the game but I like to think I am the future of the club and this contract represents that."
Wood follows Morgan and Foster who have also re-signed new deals with Gloucester as Ryan moves to seal deal for a number of his brightest stars.
Gloucester have been in good form in recent weeks, but Backs Coach Tim Taylor knows that the Cherry and Whites will have to be at their best on Thursday evening (kick off 7:45pm) against a Stade Rochelais side flying high this season.
Speaking to GRTV after the bonus point win over Bristol, back row Lewis Ludlow revealed that despite a tricky first half, Gloucester backed their skills to come through, a faith that was evident in a strong second half showing.
Willi Heinz scored Gloucester's second try as the Cherry and Whites overturned a disappointing first 40 minutes and 0-6 half time deficit, to earn a 26-18 Aviva Premiership victory over Bristol Rugby on Saturday.
It's the first Gloucester-Bristol derby at Kingsholm in over eight years this Saturday (kick off 4:30pm) and, previewing the game with the local media this week, Defence Coach Jonny Bell stressed that, with both teams in the bottom half of the table, they both need the points.
Speaking to the local media this week, Gloucester front rower John Afoa knows the challenge ahead this week against Bristol, and calls on the Cherry and Whites to make the most of home advantage as a determined squad look to bounce back from a narrow loss to Saracens.
Tom Savage speaks to GRTV and the local media as Gloucester went down by 24-20 at Saracens on Sunday afternoon. The second row was disappointed with the result, despite a strong showing from the hosts.
Speaking immediately after the game, skipper Willi Heinz thought that Gloucester had executed their game plan reasonably well and competed hard against Saracens. However, it wasn't enough but the squad will have plenty to work on this week ahead of the derby match against Bristol.
Having named an unchanged starting XV for the past three Aviva Premiership games, Gloucester Rugby ring the changes and retain only five players for Thursday's visit of Stade Rochelais in the European Rugby Challenge Cup (kick off 7:45pm).