It’s been a busy morning for Gloucester, with the club confirming a raft of contract extensions and departures. Perhaps most surprisingly, the Premiership side have announced that Jonny May has penned new terms with the club, despite only recently rejoining from Leicester Tigers.

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Gloucester confirmed the signature of May in April, but the England international has now agreed fresh terms to his contract, just over two months since his move was first confirmed.

Gloucester have also announced that Australian international James Hanson has signed a new contract with the club, while Scottish lock Alex Craig has agreed to a new long-term deal.

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Long-serving back-row forward Lewis Ludlow has also extended his contract.

However, that good news has been dampened by confirmation that eight players will leave Kingsholm at the end of the month.

The club have confirmed that three players will be leaving Gloucester for new clubs in Japan, while four more players are set to move on when their contracts expire at the end of the month.

Veteran full-back Tom Marshall, lock Franco Mostert and hooker Franco Marais are all set for moves to Japan.

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Meanwhile, Owen Williams will leave the club after three years and 37 appearances for Gloucester.

Ruan Dreyer leaves after an injury-disrupted stay at Kingsholm, making just seven appearances since joining before the 2018-19 season.

Callum Braley will head to Benetton Rugby, as announced in February. Aaron Hinkley is joining Exeter Chiefs, a move that was first announced in March, while Simon Linsell will join Ealing Trailfinders.

Lance Bradley, Chief Executive Officer, said “While it’s always sad to see players depart the Club, we nevertheless wish them all the best for the future.

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“We have, of course, been planning for these departures for some time, and will have a fully competitive squad as we look forward to restarting the 2019/20 season. We will be providing details shortly.”

Gloucester supporters will at least take heart from the growing number of players agreeing to new contracts at the club.

May, who scored 30 tries in 44 appearances for Leicester Tigers, is a product of the Gloucester Rugby Academy, and will be looking to add to his 62 tries for the Cherry and White, having already made 138 appearances between 2009 and 2017.

“I’ve already really enjoyed being back in the Gloucester Rugby environment, and it’s great to be able to commit my future here,” he siad.

“There’s nothing quite like playing at Kingsholm, and I can’t wait to run back out there, and hopefully enjoy it with supporters again soon.”

Bradley commented “There’s absolutely no doubt that Jonny is a world-class athlete, and that experience he has in elite-level environments will prove invaluable to us.

“Jonny will be a hugely important figure in our squad, both on and off the pitch, as we continue to develop the young wingers we have coming through.”

Ludlow initially made his breakthrough into the first team in 2013, and achieved his 100th cap in the home fixture against Wasps this season.

“Playing for Gloucester Rugby has always been a true honour for me, and there’s nowhere I’d rather play my rugby. I love this club and want to get it to where it deserves to be,” he said.

Bradley said “Lewis has shown his enthusiasm and commitment to this Club over many years. You only have to look at his performances to see just how important he is to us moving forward.

“Not only that, but as an academy graduate, he is a fantastic role-model to have in the squad. The journey he’s been on from the academy to the first team, highlights the importance of that pathway. He’s exactly the kind of player we want to build the Club around as we go forward.”

Hooker Hanson has clocked up 32 appearances and scored six tries since arriving in 2017, on what was initially a short-term deal.

“I can’t wait to pull on the jersey again and run out in Cherry & White,” Hanson said.

“It’s been a great honour to represent this club and playing in front of the passionate Gloucester fans has been amazing.

“We’re delighted that Chibba has decided to stay at the Club,” Bradley added.

“We were aware that he had been exploring options with other clubs, but when we sat down with him and outlined our vision for the future, and the part we saw him playing in it, it was clear that he wanted to stay.

“We’re all looking forward to seeing him playing at Kingsholm again soon.”

Craig’s contract extension also represents a boost, having made an impressive rise through the Gloucester ranks. Craig joined the senior squad at the beginning of the season and went on to earn a call-up to Scotland’s Six Nations squad earlier this year. So far he has made a total of 21 appearances for Gloucester.

“I’ve really enjoyed my rugby at Gloucester so it was an easy decision to extend my contract,” Craig said.

“I’ve had plenty of opportunities this season to break through into the first team and show what I can do, so I’m really looking forward to continue fighting for my place and pulling on the Cherry & White jersey again.”

“Alex has shown just how much potential he has this season,” Bradley added.

“Being recognised for an international call-up is credit to the work he’s put in so far and it’s important for him now to kick on and keep developing.

“It’s tribute to Alex, and the Academy, that he’s been able to make his mark so quickly after signing a senior deal.”

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