GLOUCESTER have continued their re-signing process ahead of next season by confirming that tough-tackling flanker Alasdair Strokosch has agreed a new two-year contract.
The former Edinburgh number six, an instant hit at Kingsholm following his move south in the summer, has pledged his immediate future to the Guinness Premiership pace-setters following an excellent start to his Gloucester career.
Already renowned for his work-rate, physicality and durability, Strokosch has forced his way into Gloucester's back row with such determination that head coach Dean Ryan has moved quickly to extend his initial one-year deal.
"Alasdair has been a fantastic addition for us," Ryan said. "He brings an extra dimension to our back row options and it is a testament to his ability that he has stood out in that area considering the options we have available.
"He is powerful, dynamic and a really good athlete. We have already seen his value in a number of highly important games for us and I am sure regular exposure to the Guinness Premiership and Heineken Cup will make him an ever better player.
"Through his work-rate, he has exactly the sort of attitude we want at this club. To have impressed so much in a short space of time shows we were right in signing him last season."
Strokosch (24), who has one Scotland cap, has made 14 appearances in all competitions so far this season. He said: "To have the opportunity to play regularly in such demanding competitions is why I chose to join Gloucester and I am delighted at this new deal.
"I want to make an impression, continue my development and keep on improving. This new contract will allow me to do that with some security behind me. Gloucester is a place that eats, sleeps and breathes rugby and to have that support is a fantastic feeling.
"It was a jump to leave what I knew at Edinburgh in the summer but my decision has been totally vindicated. We have a great group of players with some of the most talented guys I have ever worked with, and to be involved with them on a daily basis means I know I am in the right place to further my career."
Speaking ahead of Saturday's Aviva Premiership fixture at home to Newcastle Falcons (kick off 3pm), Director of Rugby David Humphreys emphasised the importance this weekend of Gloucester building on last week's impressive home victory against the Exeter Chiefs.
Speaking to the assembled national and local media, try-scorer Jonny May was delighted and relieved to have tasted victory on Saturday evening, and is looking forward to the European Rugby Challenge Cup final.
Tom Savage delivered a Man of the Match performance against Exeter Chiefs on his birthday on Saturday evening. He spoke to GRTV after the game about the importance of the European Rugby Challenge Cup win.
Speaking to the local media this week, John Afoa described the hard work that the Cherry and White have been putting in and that he is fighting fit ready for Saturday's European Rugby Challenge Cup semi final clash with Exeter Chiefs.
Gloucester Rugby face Exeter Chiefs this Saturday in the European Rugby Challenge Cup semi-final, and Charlie Sharples, who starts at full back is relishing the challenge of the big Kingsholm occasion.
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 Rugby return to Aviva Premiership action against the Newcastle Falcons on Saturday (Kingsholm, kick off 3pm), and make several changes to the side that defeated Exeter Chiefs at home last weekend.
With a fantastic rugby season coming to a thrilling climax and the prospect of the world's best battling it out in our back garden in September and October, there has never been a better time to quiz your Gloucester Rugby and home nation heroes on what makes them tick.