HOOKER Niall Annett bears “testament to the notion that hard work pays off” after overcoming a series of injury blows to secure a new deal at Worcester Warriors.

That is the view of ex-Warriors full-back Ben Howard who believes there are not many players more deserving of a contract extension than Annett.

The 27-year-old missed the majority of the 2016-17 season due to injuries before being sidelined for the entire 2017-18 campaign after damaging his knee in training.

He has also been hit by setbacks this term, notably injuring his shoulder in the Premiership Cup semi-final against Saracens in February that cast doubt over his future.

However Annett has bounced back in fine fashion as he has started every match since his return to action and has now been rewarded with a one-year contract.

Howard, 26, who made 64 outings for Worcester before his departure last summer, was delighted to see his former team-mate extend his stay at Sixways.

“I can’t think of many people that are more deserving of a new contract than Niall,” Howard said.

“He has not been involved as much as he probably would have liked but in these last few weeks he has really shown his quality.

“I think everybody within that squad and certainly anyone who has ever played with him will know what a great guy he is and how much he adds to that team environment.

“That injury year would have hurt him but you would not have known it as he was the first one to come in and ask if anyone else needed anything.

“He came over to my house and stripped doors and painted when I was doing it up. He is that sort of guy. He is always there to help.

“It was a real pleasure to see him progressing (from his injury) as he set himself milestones that he ticked off.

“He is a testament to the notion that hard work pays off.”

Howard described Annett as a “tremendous” player and said the ex-Ireland under 20s captain’s knowledge of the game was “second to none”.

“The value that he adds to the club and the match day squad when he is involved is immeasurable,” Howard continued.

“He doesn’t miss many lineouts and is a hell of a scrummager.

“He will be a great coach when he finishes playing because of his understanding of the shapes and patterns of play.

“He also captained the side quite a few times in that Championship season.

“Certainly when I was there he was a leader and I doubt that has changed.

“Within that front row group he will have a strong say with the scrums and lineouts.

“Whether he captains the side or not I don’t think that matters too much because of what he brings to that squad day-in, day-out.”

Annett has made 70 first-team appearances since joining Warriors from Ulster five years ago.

“There are a core group of guys that were there when we came up from the Championship like Niall, Millsy (Ryan Mills) and Ryan Bower,” Howard added.

“They are all pushing for 100 caps for the club and that’s really important to have. Any player coming into the club will have guys like Niall to look up to.

“He will be the first person to take someone under his wing. Whether they end up taking his place or not he will just crack on and help them out.”