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."
Fly-half Billy Burns was named Man of the Match after the 35-14 European Rugby Challenge Cup victory over Stade Rochelais on Thursday evening, and was full of praise for all his team mates for the win after a short turnaround.
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.
Gloucester's much changed side had to overcome conceding an early try on Thursday evening, but responded in style to down Stade Rochelais by 35 points to 14 in the European Rugby Challenge Cup and set up a mouthwatering return fixture next weekend.
After taking 11 points from their last three games in the Aviva Premiership, including bonus point wins against Wasps and Bristol, Gloucester will be looking to continue their good form when they welcome La Rochelle to Kingsholm.