MEMBERS of Gloucester's first team squad delivered a little Christmas spirit to local children last week when they visited the Battledown Children's Ward at Cheltenham General Hospital to deliver presents to patients.
Organised by Duncan McRae, the Gloucester stand-off, a number of the Kingsholm stars took time out to deliver a sack-load of goodwill to children who will be in hospital over the festive period.
McRae organised a donation from every player in the Gloucester squad and management team and went on a spending spree at Toys 'R' Us.
The result was a huge number of gifts for local children and McRae told www.gloucesterrugby.co.uk "I had seen in the past that football teams often pay a visit to hospitals at Christmas and I just thought it was a great opportunity for us to put something back into the community.
"Some of these kids put a lot of effort into supporting us and I wanted the club to put a little bit back when they are not very fortunate.
"When you see and hear that some of the children will be in hospital over Christmas, it puts everything else in your life into perspective and to pay a visit and drop off some presents was the least we could do."
McRae was joined by team-mates Olly Morgan, James Parkes, Jon Goodridge, Rob Thirlby and Brad Davies for an hour or so last week.
Claire Hunt, who is the ward manager on Battledown, said: "We certainly had some very excited children during the visit and we would like to thank Gloucester Rugby and the players very much for their generosity. It really was fantastic to see them."
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.