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."
Speaking to GRTV this week, Director of Rugby David Humphreys reflected on last week's win in La Rochelle as well as an A League semi-final triumph, but insisted that focus has quickly switched to Sunday's crucial Aviva Premiership fixture at Bath.
Speaking to GRTV after the 40-29 Aviva A League win over Wasps Rugby, Academy Coach Rich Whiffin explained his pride in the squad to overcome a strong opponent and book their spot in next week's Aviva A League final.
Willi Heinz returned from injury to skipper Gloucester to a famous 16-14 win over Stade Rochelais on Saturday evening. Speaking after the game in France, Heinz admitted the win wasn't pretty but was full of courage and a great result for the club.
Billy Burns contributed all Gloucester's points in the 16-14 European Rugby Challenge Cup win in La Rochelle on Saturday evening, but dedicated the victory to the whole squad whilst also praising the travelling support.
Speaking after Gloucester's brave 16-14 win against Stade Rochelais which clinches a European Rugby Challenge Cup final spot, Director of Rugby David Humphreys paid tribute to the way the team had executed the game plan in a hostile environment against quality opposition.
Greig Laidlaw returns to the Gloucester Rugby squad this week, and his inclusion is an important one after a serious ankle injury. The Scottish scrum half is determined to drive the team forward in their European Rugby Challenge Cup semi final in La Rochelle this Saturday.
Gloucester take on La Rochelle in the European Rugby Challenge Cup semi-final in France on Saturday evening, with the Top 14 side the favourites in the eyes of the bookmakers. However, David Humphreys is looking for his side to rise to the occasion against a familiar opponent.