Gloucester has been given a double boost after Jake Polledri, the back row powerhouse, struck a new deal with the club and was back to full fitness.
The Italy international has not played since November 2020, when he suffered a horrific knee injury during their defeat to Scotland.
Before that major setback, Polledri had become one of the Cherry and Whites’ star players with his sheer strength and speed, making him one of the Premiership’s best ball carriers.
His form was ignored by England head coach Eddie Jones, but not by the Azzurri, whom he qualifies for through his grandmother.
Polledri made his test debut in 2018 and has since earned 19 caps, starring in the 2019 World Cup along the way.
He continued that form in 2019/20, but disaster struck when he suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament, posterior cruciate ligament and lateral collateral ligament, as well as a broken leg, a torn calf and a tear in a hamstring bone.
It all came from what appeared to be a harmless slip, while a nerve problem with his foot further delayed his comeback.
The flanker, who could also play at number eight, has gotten himself fit and Gloucester is delighted to have signed a new contract.
“Jake is a truly world-class player and we are so pleased to have him back at Gloucester Rugby for next season,” said chief operating officer Alex Brown.
“He has worked incredibly hard to recover from a career-threatening injury and we are all looking forward to seeing him again at his best when the season kicks off in September.”
Stadium name change for London Irish
Meanwhile, London Irish have announced that owners of their land, Brentford FC, have agreed a 10-year rights partnership with Gray Technology Limited.
It means that the Brentford Community Stadium will now be called the Gtech Community Stadium.
Brentford chief executive Jon Varney said: “Making a naming deal for the new stadium is something we have been working on for some time.
“It was so important to us to find a like-minded organization. We wanted a forward-thinking, community-oriented partner to accompany us on our journey for the next decade.”
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