AN ambitious South African half-back has “paid his own way to a large extent” to try to earn a contract at Worcester Warriors.

Gareth Simpson, who can operate at scrum-half or fly-half, has been on trial at Sixways since Christmas following his arrival from South Africa.

The 21-year-old hails from Durban where he represented KwaZulu-Natal province and the C Cell Sharks in the Currie Cup before having a stint at Wellington Rugby Club in New Zealand last summer.

Since joining up with Warriors, Simpson has been training with the first team and impressed at stand-off in Worcester Cavaliers’ 34-26 victory over Northampton Wanderers in the Premiership Shield on Monday.

Simpson, who stands at 5ft 8in and weighs 13st, has also been turning out for National Two North outfit Stourbridge since early December.

Director of rugby Alan Solomon described Simpson as a “very neat” player who he would keep monitoring this season.

“Gareth is a young academy boy,” Solomons said.

“He has paid his own way to a large extent to be here to give himself an opportunity.

“His father has got a property in Worcester.

“Gareth spent a year in New Zealand playing in Wellington.

“He is a very neat player. He is a nine that can play at 10 and he played very well at fly-half on Monday.

“It was a terrific performance by the team, everyone played well. It was a fantastic game to watch.”

While attending Durban Hill School, Simpson set up a charity in 2011 called Rugby Recycled that provides kit and equipment to disadvantaged children and clubs.

Warriors academy coach Gordon Ross was also pleased with Simpson’s performance for Cavaliers at Sixways and said his ability to play nine and 10 made him a “great asset”.

“Gareth has been here for a while now,” said the former Scotland fly-half.

“He has maybe played half-a-dozen games for Stourbridge at scrum-half but due to injuries and availability he stepped up at 10 for us on Monday night and did the right things.

“He is a really good footballer who is competent at nine or 10.

“He is not a massive guy but just gave it to the big guys and linked things up really well which is what we wanted as a group.

“He has got a background in Worcester but came across from South Africa.

“He can play nine or 10 which is a great asset to have and took his chance really well.

“He’s another player who has been training with the squad for the past few months and has done well with us.

“All we can ask of these young academy guys that train with the senior squad is to do their best and challenge the senior players and that’s what they have done.”