Worcester have ended speculation about the future of prop Chris Horsman by signing the Wales international for another four years.
Even though the 28-year-old had 18 months remaining on his contract Worcester's director of rugby, John Brain, has moved quickly to secure the services, until 2010, of one his most important players.
He was prompted by increasing conjecture that the former Celtic Warrior was being courted by clubs across Europe, including French giants Toulouse and Stade Francais, after making a big impact with his adopted country during the autumn internationals.
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Brain said: "Cardiff and Llanelli were interested in him as were a number of French teams. But he is one of the best players of his type in Europe so you would expect that sort of interest.
"Chris is an important part of our plans and I'm delighted that we've quickly put an end to any speculation that there may have been over his future. This is very positive news for everyone connected with the club."
Not as delighted as Horsman. Brain refused to give any details about the contract, except to confirm its term, but it is believed it will make him one of the highest-paid props in the northern hemisphere.
Figures such as £160,000 a year have been mentioned and, although I understand that to be a serious over-exaggeration, Horsman will no doubt have had his earnings brought in line with top front-row forwards like England's Andrew Sheridan.
Only one prop in Britain and Ireland is believed to earn more - Gloucester captain, England World Cup-winner and Lions star Phil Vickery.
Yet, while Brain regards the former Bath tighthead as one of the three best in his position in the Premiership, alongside Saracens' Cobus Visagie and Julian White, of Leicester, he stressed the role the club had played in giving Horsman the platform to succeed.
"Chris recognises that before he came to Worcester no one knew anything about him," he said.
"The way we play and the emphasis we have on our set-piece has helped him. He has also played in a good pack of forwards and I am sure he would be the first to say that that has enhanced his reputation as a player. However, we are pleased that a player we have invested time and money in has shown his loyalty to us and agreed to stay."
Horsman's decision was swayed by the progress Worcester have made since reaching the top flight in 2004. Their first season ended with a last-day relegation escape - they finished ninth - but this campaign has been one of mid-table consolidation.
They lead their European Challenge Cup group and are in a good position to make inroads into European competition.
Horsman said: "I am glad to be committing myself to a club that has the potential to compete on a European stage. I am also happy to get the chance to work with coaches of John Brain and Anthony Eddy's calibre over the next four years - a period I consider to be my best years. It's too good an opportunity to turn down."
Horsman today undergoes surgery on the ankle injury that has curtailed his campaign. The procedure may rule him out of the rest of the season although Brain has refused to give up hope.
"People have jumped the gun a bit," he said in reference to a 'season-ending' injury.
"It is only when we know exactly what has been done in the operation how long it will be - you cannot always tell everything on a scan."