SAM Lewis believes Cornell du Preez has proven to be the “physical ball-player” Worcester Warriors have been “missing” this season.

Du Preez has made two appearances off the bench since coming back from a horror throat injury sustained on the opening day of the campaign.

Flanker Lewis reckons his back-row colleague can “do it all” and added a different dimension to Warriors’ pack, combining brute strength with “soft hands” in attack.

“He is a physical guy which is really impressive but he has also got good skills on the ball,” Lewis said.

“He has got soft hands and can put people into space.

“He has (lifted the squad since his return) and brought something different that we have been missing in the season as he is a big, physical ball-player that has got skills.

"He can do it all really.”

Number eight Du Preez, who is 6ft 2ins and weighs around 17 stone, joined Warriors from Edinburgh last summer only to fracture his larynx on his competitive debut against Wasps on September 1.

After spending six weeks in hospital during a seven-month lay-off the Scotland international returned to action in Warriors’ European Challenge Cup defeat to Harlequins.

The 28-year-old also came on for Ted Hill in Worcester’s 28-16 loss at Wasps in the Gallagher Premiership last Saturday and is expected to feature in Saturday's clash with Sale Sharks at Sixways (3pm).

“It’s brilliant to have him back,” Lewis said.

“He had that horrific injury at the start of the year so fair play to him for coming back this season.

“He’s one of the hardest blokes in the team and has really added value.

“He has got the skills and is really physical as well so he will bring bags of energy to us.

“It is a credit to him and how much hard work he has put in to come back from that injury and get himself mentally and physically right.

“He is a great to have by your side in the team.”