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Dean Ryan in wings as Akapusi Qera hints at move

 Akapusi QeraDynamic Gloucester flanker Akapusi Qera could potentially be reunited with Dean Ryan when his contract at Kingsholm expires next year.

Qera, nominated for this season’s Premiership player-of-the-year award, goes back a long way with Ryan, who signed him from National One side Birmingham in 2007 before turning him into a world-class performer for both Gloucester and Fiji.

Qera says he intends staying in the Premiership when his two-year deal runs out, but admits that may be away from Gloucester, which could open the door for new Worcester boss Ryan to make a second swoop for the 29-year-old.

“I may re-sign for Gloucester or I may move elsewhere, but I’d like to stay in the Premiership because it’s a good competition,” Qera told The Rugby Paper.

“I reckon it’s the toughest competition in the world – tougher than Super XV because you’re playing all over England and Europe against big-name players.

“It’s my last season here and we’ll see what happens after that, but if I do leave Gloucester I’d love to leave something good for the supporters. It’s become my second home and the crowd is magnificent. To play rugby at Kingsholm is something really different and the fans deserve success.”

Qera has been a back row rock at Kingsholm for six years, racking up almost 150 appearances, but he has just one winner’s medal to show for his labours – the LV= Cup in 2011.

That is insufficient for a club of Gloucester’s standing, insists Qera, who believes a shot at next season’s Premiership title must be high on the agenda.

“We had a much better season this year and there was a lot of improvement,” he said. “We were gutted that we didn’t make the top four, but we’re happy to be back in the Heineken Cup and are looking forward to the big challenge in front of us.

“It’s where a club like Gloucester belongs and being tested by big teams is good for us as a team and individuals, because you want to compete against the best.

“Our aim next season is nothing less than the Premiership top four. Finishing fifth was okay but our target must be to win the cup and our ambition is to do it by playing open rugby that makes it an exciting game that our fans really like to watch.”

Regardless of where he ends up in 2014, Qera’s second major target is to atone for a disappointing World Cup campaign with Fiji two years ago which ended with a 66-0 defeat to Wales in the final Pool game.

England 2015 is on the horizon, and Qera added: “I’m desperate to represent Fiji here and make it a record by appearing three times in a World Cup.

“The last one wasn’t great for Fiji and I’d like to turn everything around and go one better than we did in 2007 in France, where we reached the quarter-finals and pushed South Africa all the way before finally going out.”

NEALE HARVEY

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