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."
Skipper Billy Twelvetrees told GRTV after the win in Brive that the game could have been a tough one to get up for, but that his Gloucester team mates did themselves proud on the night and got a big result.
Reflecting on the 31-20 victory in Brive on Thursday evening, Director of Rugby David Humphreys said that clinching a home European Rugby Challenge Cup quarter-final was the overall aim and duly achieved.
Gloucester may have already clinched a home European Rugby Challenge Cup quarter-final, but Director of Rugby David Humphreys wants his side to finish the pool stages on a winning note in Brive on Thursday evening.
Speaking after Saturday's win, James Hudson was happy to record a bonus-point win against a hugely physical Oyonnax side as Gloucester secured their passage into the European Rugby Challenge Cup Quarter Finals
Billy Burns was a try scorer on his first European start for Gloucester and, speaking after the game, admitted that it was good to get the five points although there are still things to work on before the trip to Brive.
Gloucester Rugby have added to their front row strength in depth for next season with the signings of Paul Doran-Jones, Paddy McAllister and Nicky Thomas from Harlequins, Aurillac and the Ospreys respectively.
Connacht's 30-20 win in La Rochelle on Saturday evening means that they are the third best placed runners up and will come to Kingsholm for the quarter-final of the European Rugby Challenge Cup in early April.