James Mortimer 10.Jul.2012Getty Images
Gloucester finished towards the bottom of the table this season, but before that finished third and were considered a competitor.
While Harlequins were the English fairy-tale this season, it was only several years ago that the Cherry and Whites recorded back-to-back minor premierships, although their three seasons at the top of the table haven't yielded a crown as of yet.
Cowan will look to record consecutive centuries for the Highlanders and Southland, before departing New Zealand as one of the most experienced number nines to have played.
With his All Black career starting against Italy in 2004, Gloucester's halfbacks are looking forward to linking up with their new mentor.
Dave Lewis and Dan Robson are the existing nines at the club, and elder statesman Lewis (at 23 years of age) has had to fight with decorated scrumhalves before in the likes of Gareth Cooper and Rory Lawson.
Speaking to thisisgloucestershire.co.uk, Lewis said there was much expectation and anticipation ahead of the former All Blacks arrival.
"Jimmy's a World Cup winner and he's got 51 caps for the All Blacks, and you don't get to that situation without being world class effectively, so he'll have plenty to teach me and Dan, and we'll both be looking forward to that," he said.
"You always try to learn as much as you can from as many different coaches and players as possible, but when you get the chance to work with guys of that calibre, it's always massively exciting.
"It's definitely a good signing for the club.
"We are a young squad so we do need the odd bit of experience in there, and he'll bring a stackload of that with him."