Fijian back row forward, Apo Satala, who made a big impression in his first season at Gloucester, has committed to another season at Kingsholm.
Satala has had an interesting rugby career to date. As an infantryman in the Royal Scots, he has been a regular in Army and Combined Services rugby and played a key role in the Army's recent victory in the annual fixture with the Navy at Twickenham.
He has just finished playing in the Royal Scots Sevens in Edinburgh and will be on duty for the Army Sevens side in the Rome Sevens in a couple of weeks where the Army will be defending their title before heading off to represent Fiji in the Pacific Nations Cup!
After a spell with Leeds Carnegie, Satala linked up with Gloucester in September 2008 having impressed during preseason and in a number of A League games.
At the time Gloucester Rugby Head Coach Dean Ryan said:
"We have been hugely impressed by Apo since his involvement with us. We naturally have a lot of quality across our back row and Apo will only add to that."
And the big back rower went on to more than justify his signing as he made 22 appearances in total in 2008-9, scoring two tries in the process, and quickly became a popular figure with the Kingsholm faithful thanks to his powerful ball carrying and committed defence.
The arrangement with the Army means that Apo will still be available for key Army fixtures and Ryan acknowledged his ongoing gratitude to them:
"I would like to thank the Army for their continuing co-operation in allowing this deal to happen. Apo has quickly become a key member of our 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.
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.