Gloucester Rugby: Rob Cook signs new tw-year deal
THIS time last year Rob Cook was struggling to convince himself his Premiership adventure was reality.
Now the 29-year-old is a Kingsholm mainstay, the second out-of-contract start to re-sign this term indicating his soaring Cherry and Whites stock.
The dependable full-back has completed a new two-year deal, to keep him at Kingsholm until 2016.
When he arrived at Kingsholm last summer as Nigel Davies' first signing, he admitted making the switch from Cornish Pirates was a daunting challenge.
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Delighted with the 'reward' of his new deal, Cook explained: "When I got here I was more than happy just to be here.
"I hoped I would be able to adapt to the level once I got my bearings.
The boys in training were one step ahead at first, or one level above.
"That forces you to improve: you've got to improve as a player, or you'll just get found out.
"So with the players, coaching and conditioning around me, it's helped my game no end.
"It's great to be settled into things, and I really feel part of the team now.
"Getting the first few games under your belt is crucial.
"Once you know you can get through a game and be solid, then that gives you huge confidence to perform, and things are fine after that.
"Defence has always been a focus for me to work on.
"Now it's just improving one, then trying to improve the other, and see-sawing along.
"I'm working with some of the best attackers out there, like Jonny and Sinbad.
"And you've got to feed off them and create space for them.
"I'm always looking to improve all areas of my game, and there's always something to work on.
"The contract is something I'd hoped we could sort quickly and it's nice to get it all sorted.
"It gives me a bit of security, but hopefully it's a bit of a reward for what's happened.
"Nigel said he was having a word with my agent, so that settled things down.
"Your second year is always big after your first.
"It's about having a solid start, I like to think I've done that, so it's nice to be rewarded with another couple of years.
"I think I've done alright so far, but I just want to keep it going now and set some new targets."
Humbled to have learned from the now-retired Olly Morgan, Cook said Gloucester must capitalise on their opening 27-22 Heineken Cup Perpignan victory when facing Munster in Limerick tomorrow (6pm).
He continued: "It's been really tough for Olly and you never want to see anyone forced out of the game because of injury.
"He has been a brilliant help to me though, throughout last year and the start of this.
"He's helped massively with analysis, and he's always been there to answer any questions or help with anything I'm unsure about.
"He's been pretty honest all through, and he's been good for me to be fair.
"It's very similar to Cornwall here in many ways, the people down there were brilliant, and it's been the same if not better here.
"When Kingsholm's rocking it's a great place to be, I don't think I've played in front of a crowd like that before.
"When we're at home and on fire, the crowd are incredible, we had some great wins last season, and I don't think there's a better place to play rugby in England. If you look at all the groups I think this is the one that's the most open.
"Edinburgh are underdogs to win the group, but then they went and beat Munster.
"If we can get a result away at Munster then you just never know what could happen after that.
"We've got to take that Heineken Cup intensity back to the Premiership.
"We can't afford to lose our home games, and I just hope the games we've already lost at Kingsholm don't come back to bite us on the backside at the end of the season."