Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 24 April 2014

Simpson-Daniel handed new deal

James Simpson-Daniel, left, leads a cast of five players signing new contracts at Gloucester

James Simpson-Daniel is set to complete his career at Gloucester, leading a five-strong cast of Kingsholm men to sign new contracts.

The 31-year-old former England wing's new deal also confirms Gloucester expect him to make a full recovery from a nasty left-ankle fracture-dislocation in November.

Simpson-Daniel has once again rejected handsome offers to make a move to France's Top 14, preferring to extend still further his 13-year, 276-appearance stint at Kingsholm.

England flyer Charlie Sharples, highly-rated young lock Elliott Stooke and front-rowers Darren Dawidiuk and Shaun Knight have also signed new Gloucester deals.

Hooker Dawidiuk's new contract suggests Australia front-rower Huia Edmonds will leave Kingsholm in the summer.

Former Brumbies hooker Edmonds is out of contract at the end of the season.

Dawidiuk's new deal, coupled with Gloucester's high-profile capture of British Lion Richard Hibbard, leaves little space to accommodate 32-year-old Edmonds.

Rugby director Nigel Davies hailed Gloucester's progress in building their squad for 2014/15.

"I'm delighted they have committed their futures to Gloucester," he told the club's official website.

"Charlie, Darren, James and Shaun have been a big part of the club's success in recent years and Elliott has a huge future in front of him.

"It's been a busy couple of months for us on top of the re-signings announced before Christmas and the arrivals next season of John Afoa and Richard Hibbard."

England fly-half Freddie Burns may be primed to complete a deal to join rivals Leicester for next term, but Davies is still pleased with Gloucester's off-field squad reshaping.

He said: "The players can see where the club is heading, and are excited to be a part of that going forward.

"Their commitment speaks volumes.

"Once again it's a testimony to the hard work and commitment of everyone at the club.

"We're able to invest significantly in our team thanks to the backing of our board, the continued financial success of Gloucester and the significant investment made by our partners, sponsors and supporters."

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