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).
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.