WILL JAMES, the lock who has just returned to Gloucester following World Cup commitments with Wales, has agreed a new two-year contract extension.
The 6ft 6in second row forward, who burst onto the Guinness Premiership last season after signing from the Cornish Pirates, will remain at Gloucester until 2010.
James (30) made 18 appearances in all competitions in his debut season for the club last year and notched one try. He has four Wales caps to his name.
"The last few months have been an incredible journey for me in terms of my rugby development and to get this opportunity to stay at Gloucester in one of the most exciting times in the club's history is great," he said.
"To have experienced international rugby with Wales, been part of the World Cup and be involved with one of the best teams in the Guinness Premiership is fantastic - I just want to become the best player I can in this environment.
"Gloucester have assembled a wonderful group of players, head coach Dean Ryan is clear about his aims for the future and I want to play my part in that - signing this contract gives me some stability for the future."
Gloucester's head coach Ryan added: "Since joining the club, Will has made a big impression. He is a dynamic ball carrier, a very good athlete and a player who has added significantly to our squad.
"We are building what we believe is a very competitive squad that is capable of challenging for honours and Will has a big part to play in that.
"I am pleased we are able to keep announcing these signings because it emphasises what we are doing is right - and that is excellent news for the club."
It's the first Gloucester-Bristol derby at Kingsholm in over eight years this Saturday (kick off 4:30pm) and, previewing the game with the local media this week, Defence Coach Jonny Bell stressed that, with both teams in the bottom half of the table, they both need the points.
Speaking to the local media this week, Gloucester front rower John Afoa knows the challenge ahead this week against Bristol, and calls on the Cherry and Whites to make the most of home advantage as a determined squad look to bounce back from a narrow loss to Saracens.
Tom Savage speaks to GRTV and the local media as Gloucester went down by 24-20 at Saracens on Sunday afternoon. The second row was disappointed with the result, despite a strong showing from the hosts.
Speaking immediately after the game, skipper Willi Heinz thought that Gloucester had executed their game plan reasonably well and competed hard against Saracens. However, it wasn't enough but the squad will have plenty to work on this week ahead of the derby match against Bristol.
Gloucester may be coming off their best win of the season, the 38-16 victory over Wasps last weekend, but Director of Rugby David Humphreys admits that Sunday's trip to Saracens is an even tougher test.
After a series of contract announcements last week, hooker Richard Hibbard is the latest Gloucester Rugby player to commit to a new contract at the club and told GRTV how much he enjoys playing in the Cherry and White of Gloucester.
A try scorer in the 36-18 Aviva Premiership win over Wasps at Kingsholm on Saturday, Charlie Sharples admitted that Gloucester would enjoy the moment but can't get too carried away. The team got what they deserved but the winger wants these performances to be more frequent.
England Head Coach Eddie Jones has made two changes to his side to play Australia in Saturday's final match of the Old Mutual Wealth Series at Twickenham Stadium (kick-off 2.30pm, live on Sky Sports 2). Jonny May lines up on the left wing.