JONATHAN PENDLEBURY, the 23-year-old Gloucester second row, has agreed a new two-year contract extension at Kingsholm.
The former Rotherham lock has been outstanding since his senior debut in the European Challenge Cup against Toulon last season and has been named on the bench for Gloucester's Guinness Premiership match against Sale tomorrow.
His new deal will run until the end of the 2009 season and will provide another excellent front jumper option for head coach Dean Ryan.
"When he made his debut he ran the line-out against French opposition and did a fantastic job," head coach Dean Ryan said. "Since then, he has impressed everyone with his work ethic and dedication as a professional.
"What he has achieved is testament to his determination and he is the sort of individual we want to have in our squad."
Pendlebury, who joined Gloucester at the start of last season and has made 22 appearances in all competitions with one try, said: "I am thrilled to have earned a new deal at the club.
"To have the opportunity to continue my progression at a club that is making great strides in the Premiership and Europe is fantastic. Dean Ryan showed a lot of faith in me last season and hopefully I have responded through hard work and application.
"This gives me the chance to learn from some fantastic players in the position and I also want to put pressure on the likes of Alex Brown and Marco Bortolami and try and force my way into the first XV."
Gloucester meet the Exeter Chiefs for the fourth time in competitive action this weekend, this time in the semi-final of the European Rugby Challenge Cup. Director of Rugby David Humphreys told the local media this week that this is the sort of game that Gloucester want to be involved in on a regular basis and that he and his team are looking forward to it.
Following the 29-26 loss to Harlequins, club captain Billy Twelvetrees spoke of his disappointment that the Cherry and Whites were unable to cash in on the home side's indiscipline and lose a lead on Saturday afternoon.
Number eight Gareth Evans admitted to a collective feeling of frustration as Gloucester lost narrowly at Harlequins on Saturday, but insisted that there are plenty of positives to draw upon ahead of next Saturday's European Rugby Challenge Cup semi-final at home to Exeter.
Gloucester travel to the Stoop on Saturday afternoon to take on Harlequins in the Aviva Premiership. The Cherry and Whites make just two changes from last weekend's win over Connacht as they seek consistency and continuity in their play as Nick Walshe told the local media this week.
Speaking to GRTV after the final whistle, Tom Palmer praised the Cherry and Whites concentration and desire to hold on to a narrow 14-7 victory. The second row topped the tackle charts with 19 as he led the home team's resistance.
Supporters who are still to purchase tickets for Saturday's European Rugby Challenge Cup semi-final at home to Exeter Chiefs at Kingsholm (kick off 7:45pm) are reminded that Early Bird prices are only valid until 6:30pm on Thursday evening.
The Gloucester Wheelchair Rugby team travelled to Fenton Manor Complex, Stoke on Trent last Saturday to take part in the final round of the GBWR Super Series of the season, knowing just one win would be enough to crown them Division 3 Champions.