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Gloucester head for Newcastle in good spirits

All Areas > Sport > Rugby Union

Author: Roger Jackson, Posted: Friday, 21st December 2018, 09:00

Gloucester travel to bottom-of-the-table Newcastle on Sunday in good spirits following the announcement that a ‘magnificent seven’ have agreed new deals for the 2019-20 season.

The club have made a good impression in the European Champions Cup and are third in the Premiership, with every chance of clinching their sixth win in the north-east in a couple of days’ time.

They have been boosted by the fact that the club’s current longest serving player Charlie Sharples has signed a new contract to remain at the club, alongside fellow backs Mark Atkinson, Callum Braley, Tom Hudson and Jason Woodward

Up front, a pair of props have agreed new deals in Josh Hohneck and Alex Seville.

Gloucester director of rugby David Humphreys was delighted to confirm the first batch of re-signings, with negotiations continuing with many more of the squad looking ahead to the 2019-20 season.

"The excitement for us is that Gloucester Rugby is increasingly a club that players want to play for, and commit to, over the long-term,” he said.

"We have made some exciting additions to the squad over the last couple of seasons so next season is less about news on new signings, as our focus is on developing and retaining the strong squad we have already put in place.

"The development of the squad over the past few years, especially since Johan arrived at the club, means we have been able to grow as a playing group and it’s an exciting time for the club.

"Charlie Sharples has been getting better and better, and has been in red hot scoring form so far this season. We’ve got threats across our backline, and Charlie has definitely known where the try line is this season.

"Mark Atkinson has proven to be a real game changer, and adds a different attacking dimension to our backline. He and Danny Cipriani were starting to establish a very good understanding before his recent injury but Mark will be back playing again soon for a very important second half to the season.

"We’ve been really impressed by Callum [Braley] again this season, and he has proven himself to be a game-breaking scrum-half for us, created a tempo for the back line, and provided a lot of control for us. He’s an exciting player who has a lot to give our squad.

"Our two full backs, Jason [Woodward] and Tom [Hudson] have both been in fine form this season. Alongside Tom Marshall, they give us the strength in depth we need in every position throughout the squad to challenge at the top end of the Premiership.

"Jason’s form last season was reflected in his selection for the England tour to South Africa and I’m delighted he’s committed his future to Gloucester. Having come through our Academy system, Tom is making up for the time he lost at the start of his career due to injury. His ability to play a number of positions is a huge asset for any squad.

"Up front, we’re delighted that loosehead Josh [Hohneck] has agreed to extend his time at Gloucester. Josh has been a real unsung hero so far this season for us, playing a significant amount of minutes, and has really enjoyed our style of play over the last couple of seasons. Josh’s ability to play both sides of the scrum has also been important due to the number of front row injuries we’ve suffered in the last few months.

"We are also delighted that Alex [Seville] has signed his first senior deal with Gloucester Rugby. Having spoken often about the importance of the Academy to the long term success of Gloucester Rugby, Alex has been a stand out player throughout the Pathway. The experience he has got at first team level this season has shown that he has the mindset and the ability to be a key member of Gloucester’s pack for many years."

Sunday's game at Newcastle kicks off at 3pm.

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