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."
Willi Heinz was understandably and visibly disappointed when he spoke to GRTV after the 27-30 home defeat to Harlequins, apologising to the home support as the game slipped away after seemingly having the game under control.
Speaking to the local media this week, Scottish centre Matt Scott spoke of the squad's determination to put in a big home performance against Harlequins, with vital points up for grabs in the hunt for a Top Six spot this Saturday (KO 3pm)
Looking ahead to Saturday's Aviva Premiership fixture at home to Harlequins (kick off 3pm), Head Coach Laurie Fisher told the local media that Gloucester will need to be on top of their game in a match which has big implications in terms of top six ambitions.
A big few days for the Gloucester-Hartpury Women side. First came the news that the team will compete in Women's Super Rugby next season, and on Saturday the team will play Worcester Ladies IIs at Kingsholm. Centre Hannah Jones and wing Michelle Ruddock spoke to GRTV this week to reflect on events.
Speaking to the local media after the 35-22 loss at Wasps, lock Tom Savage spoke of his disappointment at the result, with Gloucester left to rue a number of missed opportunities against a clinical home side.
Speaking to the local media this week, back row flanker Jacob Rowan said that he is excited for the challenge at the Ricoh Arena this Sunday, and added that the players know the responsibility is theirs to deliver against the league leaders.
Speaking after his return from England duty, Gloucester winger Jonny May reflected on England winning the Six Nations Championship, if not the Grand Slam, and what he needs to focus on to get back into the starting line-up.
Ross Moriarty started for Wales at the Stade de France on Saturday while Matt Scott was a replacement for Scotland. It was Scott who finished the day the happier, a try-scorer in a 29-0 victory over Italy.
Ireland U20s came within inches of spoiling the party at Donnybrook on Friday evening, but Henry Walker's first half try proved to be the difference as England U20s hung on to win 14-10 and clinch their first Grand Slam for five years.
It's the final round of Six Nations action this weekend, and it's not just Eddie Jones' senior England side going for a Grand Slam. So too, are the England U20s with three Gloucester players set to start in the big game against Ireland.