JAMES FORRESTER, Gloucester's dynamic number eight, has completed a new deal that will keep him at Kingsholm until 2010.
The 25-year-old England international - a central element of the exciting squad Dean Ryan is building at Kingsholm - has pledged his future to the club by signing a three-year extension to his current contract.
Forrester's free-spirited ability from the base of the scrum or the tail of a line-out is one of the most potent attacking forces in the Guinness Premiership, evidenced by the solo try that sealed Gloucester's European Challenge Cup victory over London Irish in extra time last season.
The news is of huge significance to Ryan, who has already secured the services of youngsters Anthony Allen, Jack Forster, Jack Adams and Jonathan Pendlebury beyond next summer.
"I signed a three-year contract back in 2004 and I am thrilled everything has been completed really quickly again," Forrester told www.gloucesterrugby.co.uk.
"As a group we are very clear about where we are heading. The coaching environment is really stimulating and the players are given the responsibility to go out and play attacking rugby, which suits my game perfectly. The training facilities at Hartpury College are the best I've seen at club level, so the whole package is there.
"It's obviously a big year coming up for Gloucester and England, and this new deal means I can now just focus on playing as big a role as possible for both teams."
Forrester made his Gloucester debut in the 2000-01 season and has gone on to make 108 appearances in all competitions with 31 tries to his name. Having played for England Under-21s, he made his England A debut against Wales in during 2002 and in June of that year also played for an England XV against the Barbarians at Twickenham, scoring a memorable 65-metre try and outstripping Jonah Lomu.
He was also capped by the England Sevens squad in 2002, playing in the opening World Series tournament in Durban and two others, and was man-of-the-match with two tries when England A thrashed Scotland 78-6 in March 2003. In 2005 he sneaked his first England senior cap, against Wales in the RBS 6 Nations, coming on as a blood replacement for Joe Worsley.
"We are all very, very pleased he has signed a new contract because James is the sort of international-standard athlete we want to build a team around," said head coach Dean Ryan.
"James has tremendous natural ability but has also worked exceptionally hard on areas of his game that didn't come as naturally to become one of the most dangerous and threatening attacking forwards in the game.
"Re-signing him just confirms our intention to keep taking this squad forward in the right way by securing top-class players."
Jonny May's superb late score capped a thrilling 40-32 European play-off win over Connacht on Sunday. The winger spoke afterwards of his team's character and spirit as he looked ahead to one more week of rugby.
Speaking to GRTV this afternoon, Director of Rugby David Humphreys hailed the 'never say die' attitude of the team, after despite not being at their best, fighting back to take a 40-32 win after extra time over Connacht.
Jonny May continues on the wing on Sunday as Connacht come to town, and the England wing explains to the local media this week that he is delighted with his form and is looking forward to taking on Pat Lam's men.
Speaking to the local media this week, front rower John Afoa is familiar with the challenge of Connacht from his time in Belfast, and the World Cup winner is fully aware of the challenge they pose ahead of Sunday's meeting in the Champions Cup play off
Speaking ahead of Gloucester's European Rugby Champions play-off against Connacht on Sunday (Kingsholm, 3:30pm), Director of Rugby David Humphreys admitted that he's glad to have more players available than in recent weeks ahead of a tough fixture.
Nick Wood captained the Cherry and Whites on Saturday afternoon, and the experienced front rower expressed his pride in the young squad in defeat to Bath on the final day of the Aviva Premiership season.
Lewis Ludlow scored Gloucester's opening try in the 30-50 defeat at Bath on Saturday, part of an impressive performance by the young back row forward. Speaking after the game, he paid tribute to the young Gloucester side who went toe to toe with the Aviva Premiership semi-finalists.
Speaking to the local media after the game, Director of Rugby David Humphreys gave an honest assessment of the game, and expressed his pride in the way his young charges had performed against the title-chasing hosts.
Speaking to the local media this week, Gloucester Rugby scrum half Callum Braley is excited by the challenge of the West Country Derby, and the ex-Bristol man reveals the squad will be giving their all.
At the recent London Irish game, personnel from the Imjin Barracks in Innsworth, including Gurkhas, were present, holding a collection to raise funds for ShelterBox to aid relief from the recent Nepal Earthquake Appeal.
It was a thriller at Kingsholm on Sunday afternoon, as Gloucester snatched victory from the jaws of defeat, leveling the scores in the final minute before triumphing in extra time over a spirited Connacht side.