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Van Velze one of four players to join Warriors
Updated 10:06am Tuesday 4th February 2014 in Sport
NORTHAMPTON Saints back-rower Gerrit-Jan van Velze has become the latest player to link up with Worcester Warriors for next season.
The experienced 25-year-old South African will move to Sixways after spending two years with last season’s Aviva Premiership runners-up.
He joins Gloucester duo Matt Cox and Ryan Mills and Harlequins winger Sam Smith in committing their futures to Warriors from the summer.
Director of rugby Dean Ryan has also secured the services of Rotherham Titans captain Charlie Mulchrone as well as Joe Rees and Heath Stevens for next term from Ospreys and Plymouth Albion respectively.
Ryan said: “It is fantastic that GJ has decided to join us. He is an experienced Premiership player with strong leadership qualities, who we see as being influential on the pitch as well as joining a strong leadership group to help us build a new culture here at Worcester.”
Van Velze added: “I had a conversation with Dean, during which he explained the challenge ahead.
“It’s a different challenge to the one I’ve had at Northampton but it’s something I’m looking forward to.
“I know Nick Johnston from his time at Northampton so it is clear that players are looked after on and off the pitch and it is an environment which will allow me to grow as a player and a person."
Twenty-four-year-old Mulchrone is predominantly a number nine for the Championship club but can also play at fly-half.
He said: “You only have to visit Sixways Stadium to see the facilities, management and quality of players to realise the environment being created at Worcester.
“Dean's vision for the club going forward is the perfect fit for my ambitions and I am certainly looking forward to being part of it. The opportunity was something I couldn't turn down."
Tighthead Rees, who has made 30 appearances for Ospreys and is a former Wales under 18s and under 20s international, said: “I am looking forward to starting the next part of my career this summer and am excited by the challenge ahead.
“Dean has a clear idea of where he wants Warriors to go over the next few years and I am delighted that I will be part of that.”
Stevens, 24, has appeared in all 13 Championship games for Plymouth this season and is a powerful centre.
He said: “I am over the moon to secure a move to Worcester Warriors and I can’t wait to join up with my new team-mates in the summer."
Warriors chief executive Charles Cameron declared: “The announcement of these four signings is another key development as we look to build for the future and we look forward to welcoming them to the club.”