Gloucester Rugby are delighted to announce that hooker Olivier Azam and prop Alasdair Dickinson have extended their stays at the club.
A favourite with the Kingsholm faithful, Azam returned to Gloucester in the summer of 2004 after a short one-year spell playing for French club Montferrand.
He previously spent three years at Gloucester and notched up over 120 appearances for the West Country club.
He made his Gloucester debut in 2000 and has gone on to make approaching 200 appearances in all competitions. He has also won 10 French caps.
Renowned for his aggressive, hard hitting mentality, Azam has had to compete with the likes of Australian international Jeremy Paul, England international Andy Titterrell and Scotland international Scott Lawson for the No 2 shirt yet remains a regular first team selection.
Dickinson signed for Gloucester from Edinburgh in the summer of 2007 and linked up with his new team mates after featuring for his country in the 2007 Rugby World Cup making his debut against New Zealand after being called up as a replacement for Allan Jacobsen.
He made his first start in the RBS Six Nations this year and went on to play in all five matches in the tournament, starting three.
2008-9 really saw him force his way into the Gloucester first team on a regular basis as he made 20 appearances in total.
Head Coach Bryan Redpath told the club website that he's pleased that both players have committed themselves to Gloucester Rugby.
"It's very good news. They've both been integral squad members over the past couple of seasons and will have a big part to play this season."
"They're both international calibre players with a huge amount of domestic and European experience."
"We've added a few young up and coming players to our front row resources this season so their know how will be crucial."
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.
Matt Kvesic was a try scorer and recipient of the Man of the Match award in Sunday's 35-10 European Rugby Challenge Cup win over Zebre. He praised the Italian side for their spirited opposition and admitted that next week's return game will be a tough one.