CARLOS SPENCER, the former All Blacks stand-off, has joined Gloucester on a 17-month contract.
Gloucester's head coach Dean Ryan has secured the services of the vastly experienced and supremely gifted play-maker after he was released by mutual consent from Northampton last week.
"It's a great coup for us," Ryan said. "Understandably given his quality, experience and availability, there were a number of clubs keen to sign him and I am delighted we have got there first.
"Carlos will give us something a little bit different - a mystique and an ability to function at the highest possible level.
"He has huge international experience with the All Blacks and we believe he will be a great asset should we progress into the knockout stages of competitions later in the season. I am delighted that such an outstanding professional has agreed to join us."
Spencer (33) joined the Saints in 2005 in one of the highest profile signings the Guinness Premiership has ever seen. In 102 appearances, he scored 235 points for the club.
He made his All Blacks debut in 1995 and up to 2004 made 34 appearances, scoring 291 points. Spencer also represented Auckland from 1993 until 2004 and in 2006 was named in the Guinness Premiership Dream Team.
Spencer told www.gloucesterrugby.co.uk "I left Northampton with a ton of great memories - the club were fantastic and the supporters always treated me in a way I will never forget.
"Everything has happened pretty quickly over the last few days but the opportunity to stay in the Guinness Premiership and join a club as talented and ambitious as Gloucester is a rare one so I am thrilled.
"Gloucester have been at the forefront of the game in England for a number of years but the excitement of the challenge is driven by trying to help them take that last extra step and become winners.
"That is what excites me - I am joining a club that is genuinely challenging for the top honours around and I want to give it everything I can to help make them even more successful. They are a great team, with strong competition for places and I hope that I can play my way in and contribute fully to the end of the season push for honours"
Speaking after the 15-3 Aviva Premiership defeat at Northampton, Director of Rugby David Humphreys couldn't criticise his team's effort in difficult conditions, but pinpointed the errors and indiscipline that allowed Stephen Myler to kick the home team to victory.
A handful of the Gloucester Rugby Mo-Bros visited Pride Hair Salon in Gloucester on Wednesday afternoon to have the final touches applied to their Movember efforts, and the team captain Jacob Rowan spoke to GRTV ahead of the final few days of the month.
Northampton away was the first Gloucester game under David Humphreys last season, but the Director of Rugby told the local media that the Cherry and Whites are a different proposition compared to 12 months ago and are looking forward to the challenge.
Having skippered Gloucester against the Barbarians last week, Nick Wood once again wore the captain's armband on Monday evening as Gloucester United kicked off their Aviva Premiership A League campaign with a bonus point win at Leicester.
Gloucester recorded a 32-20 win over La Rochelle on Thursday evening, and second row Jeremy Thrush was thrilled to pick up the victory on his first taste of a trip to France and the hostile atmosphere.
Gloucester were forced to battle for their 33-20 victory in La Rochelle on Thursday evening, something that centre Bill Meakes said that he and the squad were well prepared for as well as thanking the travelling support for the part they played.
Scrum-half Willi Heinz may only be in the first few weeks of his Gloucester career, but he's already played enough minutes at Kingsholm to appreciate the unique nature of playing at Kingsholm and the importance of the home support.