Aviva Premiership
Gloucester begin talks to tie down key players
ESPN Staff
August 27, 2013
Billy Twelvetrees' contract is up at the end of the season © Getty Images

Gloucester have begun talks to keep a number of their stellar players at the club beyond the end of this season.

The Cherry and Whites have a staggering 24 players out of contract at the end of this campaign including England's Freddie Burns, Billy Twelvetrees and Charlie Sharples as well as ex-All Blacks No.9 Jimmy Cowan. Rival clubs cannot offer those players a deal until January but work has already begun at Kingsholm to ensure Gloucester will not be in a position come the New Year where some of their top talent risks being lured away from the club.

Gloucester boss Nigel Davies is currently planning for his second term in charge of the club following a debut campaign which saw the team finish in fifth. With their recruitment in the summer including the signings of England's Matt Kvesic and experienced second-row James Hudson, Gloucester will hope to break into the top four this season but while their new signings are key to their future plans, so is keeping their impressive array of talent.

And Davies is hoping the club's off-field approach to player welfare and happiness will pay dividends when it comes to sitting down with the players they want to keep beyond this season.

"We did some things this year that the club hasn't done in previous years, only little things, like taking the players to a race day and for a meal," Davies told the Gloucester Citizen. "They are little things, but they mean a lot, it shows the club cares, and we do. We're looking to progress that, and actually provide a package for Gloucester Rugby players that is unique.

"We're not going to compete with some clubs purely on a monetary level, but there are other things we do that go over and above that. Last year we didn't lose anyone we didn't want to lose, so we were able to manage that process reasonably well. This year we're a bit further down the track, and I suppose we're victims really of the performance of individuals and the team collectively at times last year.

"We've got a lot more international rugby players. All of a sudden their profile increases and that puts us under pressure when it comes to re-signing. But the important thing is that these guys realise it's not all about money. Money is important to these players, as it's a relatively short career.

"But the environment they're working in and whether they're enjoying their rugby or not also has to have a big part to play in all that. I'm sure all the boys in the squad are enjoying their rugby and the environment, and they'll appreciate that as much as anyone else."

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