Gloucester Rugby today boosted their back row resources with the signing of former Welsh international Nathan Thomas on a short term loan.
Thomas, 33, will bring massive experience to the Gloucester pack counting the Scarlets, Leeds Tykes, Cardiff Blues, Bath Rugby, Bridgend and Neath as his former clubs in addition to winning 9 caps for Wales.
His signing comes at an opportune time for Gloucester with Andy Hazell ruled out until the New Year with a hamstring injury and Luke Narraway still a few weeks away from a return following preseason back surgery.
In addition, Alasdair Strokosch is currently on Scotland international duty whilst Akapusi Qera and Apo Satala have linked up with the Fiji squad.
Thomas, a Heineken Cup winner in his time at Bath, is currently combining coaching duties with Masters studies at Hartpury College, and has been training with Gloucester since the start of November.
Thomas has been registered to play and is available for Gloucester's next Guinness Premiership fixture - at home to Leicester Tigers on Friday evening (kick off 7:45pm).
Gloucester have been in good form in recent weeks, but Backs Coach Tim Taylor knows that the Cherry and Whites will have to be at their best on Thursday evening (kick off 7:45pm) against a Stade Rochelais side flying high this season.
Speaking to GRTV after the bonus point win over Bristol, back row Lewis Ludlow revealed that despite a tricky first half, Gloucester backed their skills to come through, a faith that was evident in a strong second half showing.
Willi Heinz scored Gloucester's second try as the Cherry and Whites overturned a disappointing first 40 minutes and 0-6 half time deficit, to earn a 26-18 Aviva Premiership victory over Bristol Rugby on Saturday.
It's the first Gloucester-Bristol derby at Kingsholm in over eight years this Saturday (kick off 4:30pm) and, previewing the game with the local media this week, Defence Coach Jonny Bell stressed that, with both teams in the bottom half of the table, they both need the points.
Speaking to the local media this week, Gloucester front rower John Afoa knows the challenge ahead this week against Bristol, and calls on the Cherry and Whites to make the most of home advantage as a determined squad look to bounce back from a narrow loss to Saracens.
Gloucester's much changed side had to overcome conceding an early try on Thursday evening, but responded in style to down Stade Rochelais by 35 points to 14 in the European Rugby Challenge Cup and set up a mouthwatering return fixture next weekend.
After taking 11 points from their last three games in the Aviva Premiership, including bonus point wins against Wasps and Bristol, Gloucester will be looking to continue their good form when they welcome La Rochelle to Kingsholm.