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-Hartpury Women take on West Park Leeds Ladies in the final of the Intermediate Cup Final on Saturday. Head Coach Susie Appleby took time out to preview the game and chat about the future for the team.
Number eight Ben Morgan admitted that the 32-14 Aviva Premiership win over Bristol on Friday evening hadn't been pretty at times, but that the win was based on everyone in the squad remaining united and working for each other.
Previewing Friday evening's local derby at Bristol, Interim Head Coach Jonny Bell told the local media that Gloucester's preparations have gone well and that the whole squad is united in trying to finish the season on a high.
Speaking to GRTV this week, Acting Head Coach Jonny Bell spoke of his pleasure in the efforts and intensity in training from the squad after a tricky few weeks. The team were preparing for big games with Bristol and Cardiff in coming weeks.
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)
In the aftermath of the Aviva Premiership victory over Bristol, Interim Head Coach Jonny Bell was able to look forward to this weekend's European Rugby Challenge Cup quarter-final against Cardiff Blues (Kingsholm, kick off 8:05pm).