GLOUCESTER have continued their vastly promising young recruitment drive by signing England Under-18 scrum-half Dave Lewis from Exeter.
The 17-year-old has agreed a one-year deal with the Kingsholm club and will combine his rugby development with a course in Sports Coaching and Conditioning at Hartpury College - Gloucester's training base.
Lewis is already in the Junior National Academy and Gloucester's assistant Academy manager Mark Cornwell told www.gloucesterrugby.co.uk "Dave Lewis is one of the best players in his position and in his age group in the country, so we are very pleased to have signed him.
"We took significant strides last season in attracting and signing some of the most talented individuals in the country and this is a continuation of that. This is the next stage in that development and we are very pleased he has joined us.
"He will also be able to continue his education at Hartpury and the facilities on offer - on and off the rugby field - were key in his decision."
Lewis will be joined by lock Dan Tuohy, who is also a Hartpury student. Tuohy has agreed a one-year extension to his contract after signing last summer.
Tuohy, an Ireland Under-21 international second row, was a member of the Gold Scholarship scheme at Hartpury last season and instrumental in Gloucester's Guinness A League success.
Last season he combined studying Sports Coaching and Conditioning with his rugby, but this season he will solely dedicated to Gloucester and follows James Merriman and Jack Forster from Hartpury into the Kingsholm senior ranks.
Tuohy (21) is comfortable at either four or five and played for Weston-super-Mare in National Three South before starting his degree at Hartpury. This season he has been instrumental at the Pertemps Bees alongside Cornwell.
"Dan has done very well at Pertemps this season, taken his opportunities and really developed," Cornwell said. "He is a developing athlete and is capable of playing in the back row.
"He has been exposed to Guinness A League again this season and that can only aid his development in the long-term."
With such a short turnaround between the two games, and Gloucester looking to reintegrate several players into the line-up after the Autumn international series, Tom Savage told GRTV that the Cherry and Whites will keep changes to a minimum for the European Rugby Challenge Cup game in Zebre on Saturday.
Gloucester travel to Italy this weekend to take on Zebre in Round Four of the European Rugby Challenge Cup. The Cherry and Whites defeated the Italian side 35-10 last Sunday, but Director of Rugby David Humphreys is looking for an improved performance in the return fixture.
Skipper Billy Twelvetrees, speaking to GRTV after the 35-10 over Zebre, was happy with the bonus point win over the Italian side but admitted Gloucester will need to tighten up for the return fixture in Parma.
Gloucester Rugby welcome Sione Kalamafoni, Greig Laidlaw and Tom Palmer back to the starting line up and feature David Halaifonua in a matchday squad for the first time, as they resume Aviva Premiership action against Bath Rugby at Kingsholm on Saturday (kick off 5:30pm).