ONE OF the most devastating and exciting game-breakers in the country - James Simpson-Daniel - has become the latest Gloucester player to sign an extension to his contract.
The Kingsholm star has signed a two-year extension to his current deal that will now run until 2011.
After joining Gloucester straight from Sedbergh School in 2000, Simpson-Daniel (25) has become one of the most devastating finishers in Gloucester's recent history. In 140 appearances in all competitions, he has scored 66 times as well as winning 10 England caps.
"Gloucester is the only professional rugby club I have ever known - it was the one that made me feel most welcome and at home when I left school and sometimes it is hard to imagine playing anywhere else," Simpson-Daniel told www.gloucesterrugby.co.uk
"To have the opportunity to re-sign and extend my contact here at such an exciting and breakthrough time for the club is a massive thing for me - I am really pleased to have the chance to help Gloucester to bigger and better things.
"There is a clear vision in place for the future - on and off the field - and I want to play my part in that. I love the atmosphere, the level of support and sheer passion for the game. It is impossible not to be inspired by that.
"Dean Ryan has put a lot of faith in me and I want to re-pay that. It is clear with the signings that have been made this season that the club really intends to challenge for major honours - that is what I am here for and what I want to do."
Gloucester's head coach Dean Ryan, who has also been able to announce the signing of flanker Andy Hazell and Alex Brown recently, added: "James is an outstanding player - a natural athlete and game-breaker who has the ability to change the course of a match with one break, one pass or a piece of vision.
"There are not many individuals in the country that possess the range of skills James has. He is an international-quality player and I think it says a great deal about where we want Gloucester to be that we have moved now to retain his services.
"James is a central figure at the club, is still developing and evolving as a player and this extra security for him is of huge significance to the club. I think Gloucester supporters will be thrilled he has re-signed until 2011."
Gloucester recorded a 32-20 win over La Rochelle on Thursday evening, and second row Jeremy Thrush was thrilled to pick up the victory on his first taste of a trip to France and the hostile atmosphere.
Gloucester were forced to battle for their 33-20 victory in La Rochelle on Thursday evening, something that centre Bill Meakes said that he and the squad were well prepared for as well as thanking the travelling support for the part they played.
Gloucester got off to a winning start in the European Rugby Challenge Cup last weekend, but Head Coach Laurie Fisher is expecting a much tougher challenge when the Cherry and Whites travel to La Rochelle for Thursday night's Round Two encounter.
Dan Thomas was a try scorer in the 14-62 defeat at the hands of the Barbarians on Tuesday evening, but told GRTV after the game that he'd really enjoyed taking on the Barbarians and locking horns with Ardie Savea at the breakdown.
After a long, hard battle to return to fitness, Henry Trinder made his long awaited comeback in the second half of the 23-10 win over Zebre on Saturday and admitted he was taken aback by the reception he got from the Kingsholm crowd.
21 year old number eight Lewis Ludlow formed part of a physical back row effort in the 23-10 European Rugby Challenge Cup over Zebre on Saturday. Speaking to GRTV after the game, he spoke of making the most of his chances and being happy to contribute to the Gloucester win.
Gloucester United kick off their Aviva Premiership A League campaign against Leicester Tigers at Welford Road on Monday evening (kick off 7pm) and have named a side which features lots of first team experience.