FORMER Wallaby hooker Jeremy Paul jetted into Kingsholm today to complete Gloucester's squad for the 2007-08 Guinness Premiership season - and immediately said he was ready to get down to work with his new team-mates.
Paul, capped 72-times by Australia, signed a three-year deal in May to join from the ACT Brumbies and is the final piece in Dean Ryan's jigsaw.
"I am joining a team at the forefront of the Guinness Premiership, who have made a fantastic start to the season and it is my job to force my way into the squad," Paul told www.gloucesterrugby.co.uk
"We have the makings of a very good side - the squad strength is unbelievable - and to have the opportunity to play for Gloucester, one of the very best English teams, was just too good to turn down.
"It has been a long time coming but this is a new chapter and a new opportunity in my life and I am thrilled to finally be here. It is up to me to put pressure on the players already in my position because there are two international-quality hookers at the club.
"All I want to do is play my part, add my experience to the squad and help us progress. I still have plenty of ambitions to fulfil - I am hungry for success and I desperately want to be successful in the Guinness Premiership and the Heineken Cup."
In his career to date Paul has won most of the game's major honours including the 1999 World Cup and two Tri-Nations titles with Australia, plus two Super 12 titles with the Brumbies. In 2005, Paul received the highest individual award in the Australian game when he was awarded the John Eales medal, voted for by his fellow internationals.
Paul, 29, was born in New Zealand but moved to Brisbane as a teenager where he began his career with Easts Rugby Club. After starring for the Australian Under 21's in 1997, Paul joined the ACT Brumbies in 1998, making his Super 12 debut against the Cats and Test debut against Scotland in the same year.
"Now I am here, I just cannot wait to get started," he added. "I have already been to the stadium and seen the new stand development - it is massively impressive - and now I just want the chance to play in front of the Gloucester supporters."
With such a short turnaround between the two games, and Gloucester looking to reintegrate several players into the line-up after the Autumn international series, Tom Savage told GRTV that the Cherry and Whites will keep changes to a minimum for the European Rugby Challenge Cup game in Zebre on Saturday.
Gloucester travel to Italy this weekend to take on Zebre in Round Four of the European Rugby Challenge Cup. The Cherry and Whites defeated the Italian side 35-10 last Sunday, but Director of Rugby David Humphreys is looking for an improved performance in the return fixture.
Skipper Billy Twelvetrees, speaking to GRTV after the 35-10 over Zebre, was happy with the bonus point win over the Italian side but admitted Gloucester will need to tighten up for the return fixture in Parma.
Matt Kvesic was a try scorer and recipient of the Man of the Match award in Sunday's 35-10 European Rugby Challenge Cup win over Zebre. He praised the Italian side for their spirited opposition and admitted that next week's return game will be a tough one.