The success of the Gloucester Rugby Academy is reflected in the fact that eight of last year's Academy will be members of the senior squad in 2009-10.
Freddie Burns, Dave Lewis, Jordi Pasqualin, Tristan Roberts, Charlie Sharples, Yann Thomas, Henry Trinder and Dan Williams comprise the eight who have signed senior deals for 2009-10.
Most are already well known to Gloucester Rugby supporters. Lewis made eleven first team appearances whilst Sharples made nine appearances and scored his first senior try at home to Bath in the Guinness Premiership.
And, in recent weeks, Lewis, Sharples, Trinder, Williams as well as prop Shaun Knight featured for England U20s as they made the final of the Junior World Championship in Japan.
It's a huge tribute to the work done by Academy Manager Mark Cornwell and the relationships forged with the likes of Moseley, Cinderford and Hartpury College.
Cornwell told the club website recently:
"The production line seems to be working and I think a lot of that is down to dual registration. Our players have been gaining experience playing for Cinderford and Moseley and then going on to first team level."
"I should also mention the relationship with Hartpury College. A number of the boys have been gaining valuable playing experience within the very successful Hartpury set up."
"This is reflected in their promotion to South West 2 and in their EDF and BUCS triumphs at Twickenham within the space of a week last season."
"I'm delighted that so many of the lads are moving upwards through the ranks. It seems to be working well and we all hope it continues."
Gloucester Rugby Head Coach Bryan Redpath added:
"A successful Academy set up is vital for any Guinness Premiership club. It's good to have a steady progression of young, local talent coming up through the ranks."
"Some of them have already made the breakthrough and I hope that they'll all go on to become regulars in the first team squad."
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.
Gloucester Rugby welcome Sione Kalamafoni, Greig Laidlaw and Tom Palmer back to the starting line up and feature David Halaifonua in a matchday squad for the first time, as they resume Aviva Premiership action against Bath Rugby at Kingsholm on Saturday (kick off 5:30pm).