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Fly-half Spencer joins Gloucester

Carlos Spencer
Carlos Spencer has scored 19 tries and 235 points in European rugby

Gloucester have signed former All Blacks fly-half Carlos Spencer until the end of next season, following his release by Northampton Saints.

The talented 33-year-old left the Saints last week after losing his place in the first team.

Gloucester head coach Dean Ryan told BBC Radio Gloucestershire the opportunity was "too good to miss".

"It would be foolish to not look at strengthening in an area we've not been operating at our best in," he added.

A number of clubs were interested in signing Spencer, but Ryan, who described the stand-off as Northampton's best player when the clubs met six weeks ago, moved quickly to get his man.

"If he's had any problems in the past it's that others aren't operating at the same speed as him mentally and that can be incredibly frustrating for both sides really," said Ryan.

"We met with him, spoke about what we saw him offering us and about the challenge of playing at Gloucester and he relished the opportunity.

"He saw it as a chance to enhance what he's already done."

Spencer, who won 35 caps for the All Blacks, faces competition for the fly-half berth at Kingsholm with Ryan Lamb, Willie Walker and Olly Barkley also in contention for the number 10 shirt.

And while giving no guarantees the new man would go straight into the team, Ryan expects the vastly-experienced Spencer to bring something different to the club in the key decision-making role.

"Ultimately, I'm pretty sure the majority of Test matches he played for New Zealand he won," said Ryan.

"That's playing at the highest level in the world and when I spoke to Carlos I said playing for Gloucester is like playing Test match rugby, you have to win the majority of games you're playing because that's the expectation that's on us.

I hope that I can play my way in and contribute fully to the end of the season push for honours

Gloucester fly-half Carlos Spencer

"I need you to behave very much like a Test match player and he saw that very much as a challenge and felt that he could fulfil his side of the bargain."

Former Auckland player Spencer was hailed as Northampton's greatest ever signing in 2005 and stayed with them after their relegation to National One but has lost his place this season to league convert Stephen Myler.

He scored 235 points in 102 appearances for Saints.

He told the Gloucester website: "I left Northampton with a ton of great memories. The club were fantastic and the supporters always treated me in a way I will never forget.

"Everything has happened pretty quickly over the last few days but the opportunity to stay in the Guinness Premiership and join a club as talented and ambitious as Gloucester is a rare one so I am thrilled.

"Gloucester have been at the forefront of the game in England for a number of years but the excitement of the challenge is driven by trying to help them take that last extra step and become winners.

606: DEBATE

"That is what excites me. I am joining a club genuinely challenging for the top honours and I want to give it everything I can to help make them even more successful.

"They are a great team, with strong competition for places and I hope I can play my way in and contribute fully to the end of the season push for honours."

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see also
Hooker Azam ponders Toulon move
03 Feb 09 |  Gloucester
Reihana sorry to see Spencer go
02 Feb 09 |  Northampton
Spencer parts company with Saints
30 Jan 09 |  Northampton
Saint Carlos
11 Aug 05 |  Rugby Union


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