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."
Speaking to the local media this week ahead of the Bath Rugby game, Head Coach Laurie Fisher stressed that the fundamental shape of Gloucester's game is in good shape but that the Cherry and Whites have to look after the ball better and make more of their scoring opportunities.
Skipper for the day Willi Heinz faced the cameras after the 13-18 home loss to Newcastle and expressed real frustration at not being able to back up last week's win at Sale, calling it a performance he and his team-mates are not proud of.
Speaking after the game, Charlie Sharples described it as 'the win that has eluded us.' The winger stressed that Gloucester had stayed positive after the first couple of weeks of the Aviva Premiership season and the 26-13 victory over Sale was a result of that focus.
Gloucester Rugby picked up their first win of the new Aviva Premiership season on Friday night, easing to a 26-13 win on the road at Sale Sharks. Director of Rugby David Humphreys was full of praise for his players on the night.
Greig Laidlaw is back to skipper Gloucester Rugby in Saturday's Aviva Premiership derby game against Bath Rugby at Kingsholm. James Hook will make his first start of the season at full-back and Billy Twelvetrees will make his 100th competitive appearance for the club.
Wednesday evening saw the launch of the Cherry and White Wednesday show on the Drivetime programme on BBC Radio Gloucestershire, with Henry Trinder live in the studio to kick off a regular weekly slot.