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 to the local media this week, Gloucester Rugby centre Matt Scott is excited to take the field again as the Cherry and Whites look to build on the win in Bayonne when Treviso come to Kingsholm this Saturday.
Defence Coach Jonny Bell admitted this week that the European Rugby Challenge Cup victory in Bayonne was a welcome one, stressed that Benetton Treviso will pose a tough test on Saturday at Kingsholm but that Gloucester are determined to deliver in front of their own fans.
Motu Matu'u is looking to make up for lost time this week as the Cherry and Whites head to Basque Country to take on Bayonne in the European Rugby Challenge Cup opener. The Samoan hooker made his first appearance in the jersey last weekend, and is hoping to contribute to the team this weekend.
Gloucester's attentions turn to Europe this weekend as they travel to Bayonne for their opening fixture of this season's European Rugby Challenge Cup. Forwards Coach Trevor Woodman told GRTV that the Cherry and Whites will be aiming to top their pool as they've done for the past two seasons, but is well aware of how tough it is to win in France.
Although understandably disappointed at seeing victory slip away at the last minute, Ben Morgan said after the game at Exeter that there were plenty of positives that Gloucester could take from the game.
Speaking after a last-gasp try from Exeter earned the Chiefs a 27-27 draw at Sandy Park on Saturday, Charlie Sharples admitted to mixed feelings. The game saw him score a try on his 200th competitive appearance for the club, but the frustration from not closing out the win was clear.
David Humphreys was minutes away from a winning interview on Saturday afternoon, but a late try from Exeter Chiefs meant the points were shared at Sandy Park. Humphreys spoke with the local media after the 27-27 draw.
Gloucester made it two wins from two outings in this season's European Rugby Challenge Cup as they outplayed Benetton Treviso at Kingsholm to win by 37 points to 8, the bonus point try coming with the final play of the game.