Gloucester Rugby: It will take time to re-sign top players, says Nigel Davies
A LONG-TERM charm offensive will help Gloucester convince their top talents to stay at Kingsholm, believes boss Nigel Davies.
Rugby director Davies has urged his out-of-contract stars to stay patient while he works methodically through the club's retention strategy.
The former Wales centre has already tied down Billy Twelvetrees and Rob Cook to new deals.
While the ex-Scarlets boss is also launching Gloucester's recruitment drive, he admitted retaining all the club's frontline talent still requires the big sell too.
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The Cherry and Whites now have 22 first-team players whose contracts will expire at the end of the season.
Highly-rated lock Elliott Stooke has made his senior breakthrough this year, and currently has an academy deal that will also run its course this term.
Freddie Burns and Henry Trinder have already effectively admitted they are playing a waiting game before recommitting, to see how Davies' recruitment pans out.
The Gloucester boss is pressing on unperturbed though, and pledged to prove to all his prize assets Kingsholm is still the best place for them to fulfil their career ambitions.
James Simpson-Daniel, Charlie Sharples and Ryan Mills are all further high-profile backline stars out of contract.
Southern Hemisphere duo Huia Edmonds and Jimmy Cowan have deals that expire at the end of term.
Back-row big-hitters Sione Kalamafoni and Akapusi Qera are also on the list, with tightheads Rupert Harden and Shaun Knight's deals also up for renewal.
Admitting he will "rebalance" his squad for next season, hinting at front-five reinforcement, Davies said he is pleased with Gloucester's off-field progress already this term.
He explained: "Part of the recruitment process is still selling the club to the guys who are already within the club. It's easy to take things for granted when you're within an environment, and the grass is never greener.
"So that's all part of the process.
"The fact we've got a great working environment, a great set-up here, hopefully that will stand us in good stead.
"I suppose the fact we've spoken about retention and recruitment publicly means people start expecting results straight away.
"But it will all take a long time to sort out; it's not as straightforward as people may think.
"It's a bit of a jigsaw that we're working with, and we're looking to rebalance where our squad is.
"So it's a moving feast and it can change daily to be honest!
"I'm pleased with progress so far though.
"We've re-signed two rock-solid guys, both steady, but also excellent players, good carriers of the ball, good characters and the kind you can build your team around.
"Absolutely I would say to those out-of-contract players to be patient, it's an ongoing process.
"Part of my day every day is about retention and recruitment, it's every day.
"We're working extremely hard at all of that and will keep going methodically."
OUT OF CONTRACT AT THE END OF 2013/14:
FRONT-ROW: Huia Edmonds, Rupert Harden, Darren Dawidiuk, Shaun Knight, Dan George.
LOCK: Lua Lokotui, Will James, Elliott Stooke.
BACK-ROW: Sione Kalamafoni, Akapusi Qera, Matt Cox, Andy Hazell.
SCRUM-HALF: Jimmy Cowan.
FLY-HALF: Freddie Burns, Tim Taylor, Jonny Bentley.
WING: James Simpson-Daniel, Charlie Sharples.
CENTRE: Henry Trinder, Tim Molenaar, Ryan Mills, Mike Tindall.
FULL-BACK: Martyn Thomas.