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."
Speaking to the local media this week, John Afoa described the hard work that the Cherry and White have been putting in and that he is fighting fit ready for Saturday's European Rugby Challenge Cup semi final clash with Exeter Chiefs.
Gloucester Rugby face Exeter Chiefs this Saturday in the European Rugby Challenge Cup semi-final, and Charlie Sharples, who starts at full back is relishing the challenge of the big Kingsholm occasion.
Gloucester meet the Exeter Chiefs for the fourth time in competitive action this weekend, this time in the semi-final of the European Rugby Challenge Cup. Director of Rugby David Humphreys told the local media this week that this is the sort of game that Gloucester want to be involved in on a regular basis and that he and his team are looking forward to it.
Following the 29-26 loss to Harlequins, club captain Billy Twelvetrees spoke of his disappointment that the Cherry and Whites were unable to cash in on the home side's indiscipline and lose a lead on Saturday afternoon.
Number eight Gareth Evans admitted to a collective feeling of frustration as Gloucester lost narrowly at Harlequins on Saturday, but insisted that there are plenty of positives to draw upon ahead of next Saturday's European Rugby Challenge Cup semi-final at home to Exeter.
Gloucester travel to the Stoop on Saturday afternoon to take on Harlequins in the Aviva Premiership. The Cherry and Whites make just two changes from last weekend's win over Connacht as they seek consistency and continuity in their play as Nick Walshe told the local media this week.
The Gloucester Rugby Ticket office can advise that the club's initial allocation of tickets for the European Rugby Challenge Cup Final has sold out. However, the club has secured an additional allocation of tickets from EPCR which will go on sale on Monday.
Following Saturday evening's exciting European Rugby Challenge Cup semi-final victory over Exeter Chiefs, the Ticket Office at Kingsholm will be open on Sunday from 11am to 3pm for Club Members to purchase tickets for the Final.
Gloucester Rugby qualified for their first European final since 2006 as they defeated the in-form Exeter Chiefs by 30 points to 19 in a thrilling semi-final at Kingsholm on Saturday evening. The club photographer caught the best of the action.
Recent meetings between these two teams have often been thrillers, and this was no exception. It went down to the final few minutes, but Gloucester produced the goods when it mattered to qualify for the European Rugby Challenge Cup Final, beating Exeter 30-19.