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."
As Gloucester prepare for their 39th game of the season, against Bordeaux-Begles at Sixways on Sunday, David Humphreys told the local media that this week has been all about getting the players mentally and physically ready after a tough game against Connacht last Sunday.
Speaking to GRTV after the 40-32 victory over Connacht on Sunday, skipper Billy Twelvetrees explained that Gloucester had had to learn to be patient and cut out the errors to earn the win and progress to next weekend's final play-off against Bordeaux-Begles.
Jonny May's superb late score capped a thrilling 40-32 European play-off win over Connacht on Sunday. The winger spoke afterwards of his team's character and spirit as he looked ahead to one more week of rugby.
Speaking to GRTV this afternoon, Director of Rugby David Humphreys hailed the 'never say die' attitude of the team, after despite not being at their best, fighting back to take a 40-32 win after extra time over Connacht.
Jonny May continues on the wing on Sunday as Connacht come to town, and the England wing explains to the local media this week that he is delighted with his form and is looking forward to taking on Pat Lam's men.
Following the recent announcement that XBlades were to become the club's new kit and leisurewear partner, Gloucester Rugby can today (Tuesday 30 June) confirm the opening of a new retail unit, based at Gloucester Quays Outlet Centre, as well as the launch of a brand new online shop.
When the Gloucester Rugby squad and staff report for their first day of preseason training on Wednesday morning, they will be greeted with a new look training kit from XBlades Sports ready for the first sessions.