Schonert will be big boost for Warriors says Williams

Worcester News: (5636440) (5636440)

MIKE Williams believes Worcester Warriors have landed themselves a top player in South African tighthead prop Nick Schonert.

The 22-year-old has agreed a switch from Super 15 side Cheetahs to join Dean Ryan's Sixways revolution from the start of next season.

So keen was Ryan to secure Schonert's services that the Worcester director of rugby jetted out to South Africa to finalise the deal.

Williams also played a key role in selling the club to the front-rower, someone he played with for a number of years earlier in his career.

Warriors snapped up the Zinbabwean-born lock last summer and he has proved to be one of the finds of the campaign with a string of impressive performances.

Now he is looking forward to being reunited with Schonert and delivering a brighter future for Warriors.

"I've known him for five years and he's definitely going to be a good prospect for this club," Williams said.

"He's an excellent guy on and off the field. He's played for his country at age-group level and I played with him for three years at Sharks at under 19s and 21s and Vodacom Cup. I also played against him when I moved to the Bulls.

"He's known to be a massive scrummager - he eats, sleeps and breathes scrummaging so we know that the scrum will be going forward. Everyone looks forward to seeing him play."

Williams continued: "One of the biggest things I said to him was that the Warriors has been a great stepping stone for me.

"As a new guy from South Africa, not really being known as a player and still quite young, Warriors have given me a great opportunity this year and put my name out there.

"That's pretty much what I said to him and I couldn't be any happier and I'm sure he'll feel just the same.

"When guys move to different clubs you start off with a fresh slate and he's a player with massive work ethic and that's what Dean likes. He'll definitely be a good thing for the club."

With Warriors' Aviva Premiership survival hanging by a thread, it is a distinct possibility that Schonert will be plying his trade in the Championship in 2014-15.

But Williams insists that won't be an issue because he can see the bigger picture at Sixways.

There are a whole host of new players arriving in the summer, including Schonert's fellow South Africa GJ Van Velze, who is currently at Northampton Saints.

Williams said: "Dean's been over to see him and he knows exactly where the team is going and where this place is targeting to be.

"The future's looking bright at the end of the tunnel and with me being here, and a couple of the other South Africa boys that he knows, Nick knows it's going to be a good place to come.

"Worcester have made some big signings. If we do happen to get relegated it's just an extra on top of it all knowing that all the players that are coming in are going to make such a difference to this side.

"With the players we know are definitely staying next year - myself, Chris Pennell and Grovesy (Alex Grove) - if we go down we know where this place is going and we'll bounce straight back up."

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