WORCESTER Warriors are poised to make a double raid on local rivals Gloucester to snap up back-rower Matt Cox and centre Ryan Mills.
Rumours have been circulating widely that Cox was set to return to his former club and the player was spotted in the Sixways pitch-view restaurant after the Aviva Premiership game with Bath on November 1.
The Cherry and Whites have offered 25-year-old Cox a new contract, but he is thought to have snubbed the deal in favour of returning to the club he left in 2010.
After graduating to the Warriors first XV from the then-bountiful academy system, Cox grew frustrated at his progress often being blocked by the likes of club captain - and regular training ground sparring partner - Pat Sanderson.
However, despite enjoying plenty of game-time at Kingsholm this term, thanks in part to injuries to his back-row rivals, Cox is now heading back up the M5.
The arrival last summer at Gloucester of Warriors’ back row star Matt Kvesic will have put more pressure on Cox’s place in the side.
Despite that, the decision to leave won’t have been an easy one as Cox is currently working under the guidance of former Warriors’ academy manager Andrew Stanley, Gloucester’s forwards coach, who mentored the young back-rower during their time together at Sixways.
Former England under 20s back Mills came through the youth system at Kingsholm, but the 21-year-old’s progress has been hampered by a persistent knee injury.
However, he is highly-rated at the club and player-coach Mike Tindall said: “Millsy is a genuine ball-playing 12 and I think he’ll compete with Billy Twelvetrees when he gets more game time.”