FLY-HALF Jono Lance hailed wing Bryce Heem as an “unbelievable contributor” to Worcester Warriors following the announcement of his departure.

The Australian said Heem had helped to create a “very fun environment” at Sixways and insisted his exit this summer would be a “big loss” for the club.

After months of speculation over Heem’s future Warriors confirmed the New Zealander had “opted to pursue his career outside of the Gallagher Premiership” despite their best efforts to persuade him to stay.

Since arriving from Waikato Chiefs in 2015 Heem has established himself as an influential figure within the team.

The 30-year-old has scored 30 tries in 66 games and Lance said his team-mate had also made a big impact off the pitch.

“He is an unbelievable contributor to Worcester,” Lance said.

“He is a very good player for the team and is very important during the week too.

“What you guys don’t see is what he does to keep the guys’ spirits up and making it a very fun environment.

“It is obviously disappointing but it is what it is.”

Lance said he wanted “unreal” Heem to remain at the club but admitted he ensured his efforts to encourage the Kiwi to stay were light-hearted.

“You want to do it to an extent where it stays as a bit of banter,” Lance said.

“There were a few times where I give him the nod and said ‘Mate, what are you doing?’ “We are all excited for Bryce.

“He has been a very good servant for Worcester Warriors and has still got a fair few games to make the fans here pretty happy that he is a Warrior at the moment.”

According to reports in France, Heem has signed a two-year deal with Top 14 outfit Toulon but his destination has yet to be confirmed.

“Bryce gets along well with everyone in the team,” Lance continued.

“It is a big loss because he is a good character and great around the squad. He is good with the young guys as well as being an unreal player.

“I think everyone is excited about what is next for him.”

With Heem leaving Warriors have snapped up Samoa international wing Ed Fidow from French Pro D2 club Provent.

The capture of the 25-year-old on a two-year deal follows the signing of Samoa-born back Melani Nanai who will make the move from Super Rugby outfit Blues.

“I have played against both of them and they are quality players,” Lance said.

“If you look at the highlights it is pretty evident that Melani is a smooth runner and his attacking skills are pretty handy.

“He will definitely bring some strengths to the club. He is very impressive to watch.

“Ed played in Brisbane where I am from for a few years and has got some speed so there are exciting times ahead.”