Gloucester prop Val Rapava-Ruskin signs new long term deal

Kingsholm Stadium
Kingsholm Stadium
©Steve Haag

Gloucester Rugby have announced that loosehead prop Val Rapava-Ruskin has signed a long-term deal with the Gallagher Premiership club.

Born in Georgia, Rapava-Ruskin played for Western Province, Saracens, Toulon and Worcester Warriors before joining the Cherry and Whites in 2017.

He has represented the club more than 100 times and was voted Gloucester's player of the season by fans and team-mates at the end of last season.

The 31-year-old was part of England's training squad ahead of the World Cup in France last year but a knee injury effectively ruled him out of the showpiece event.

“This is a very special place for me, you don’t stay somewhere for seven years if you don’t feel like it’s your home. It’s a sentimental feeling when I come here every day," he told the club's official website.

“I’d like to try and bring some silverware to this Club. For all the time and belief they’ve given to me, that’s the one thing I want to do whilst I’m here.

“I feel like I’m progressing here, and I still feel like I have much more to give this team.”

Gloucester director of rugby George Skivington is pleased with Rapava-Ruskin remaining with the club.

“Val was a really important part of the squad last season and that was recognised with his end of season awards.

“He’s worked really hard to develop his game over the last couple of seasons in particular, so we’re pleased to keep him here at Kingsholm.

“Val and our medical staff are doing everything they can to get him back on the pitch, and I’m sure that when he’s fully fit again, he’ll pick up where he left off before his injury.”

After a successful European Challenge Cup campaign - where the Cherry and Whites won all four of their matches and topped Pool 3 - Gloucester will be aiming to get their Premiership season back on track this weekend.

Skivington's side host Sale Sharks on Sunday afternoon, and like every Premiership game this weekend, you can watch it live on TNT Sports.

Gloucester have lost their last nine Premiership matches and Skivington also revealed this week that he had spoken to mentors Warren Gatland and Stuart Lancaster for advice on how to turn around the club’s worrying form.

“Stuart has always been brilliant for me, a great sounding board. I had a good chat with Warren a couple of weeks ago,” Skivington said.

“Warren was one of my first coaches and someone I have a long relationship with. A couple of weeks later I was having another conversation with him [about Louis Rees-Zammit leaving rugby for the NFL], which nearly knocked him off his seat.

“Guys like that are always good sounding boards for me. I sort of milked them dry when I first got the job and then you have a period like this where you know what you want to do, but it’s worth sounding off with some people who have lived these things in various times and places. 

“It is sometimes good to get some reassurance that you can solve it, you bounce it off them. I would never, ever say that I know it all and I am very happy to have those people that I can communicate with and pick their brains.”

Watch all five Gallagher Premiership Rugby fixtures this weekend exclusively live on TNT Sports and discovery+.

Refcam makes a return to live rugby broadcasts on Sunday when Gloucester entertain Sale Sharks at Kingsholm Stadium. 

To be worn by the man-in-the-middle Luke Pearce, Refcam will offer viewers an up-close-and-personal angle of the game’s key incidents and the general run of play.

The same camera will be worn by a selected player in the build-up to the game, offering a unique storytelling tool and giving viewers a players’ view of the warm up.