WARRIORS have agreed to release centre Ryan Mills from the final year of his contract to join West Midlands rivals Wasps for the 2020-21 season.

Mills, 27, joined from Gloucester in the summer of 2014 and made his 100th appearance in the European Challenge Cup match in Castres in November.

Worcester director of rugby Alan Solomons said: “Ryan has been a great servant of the club and he has made an invaluable contribution over many years.

"He has though reached a point in his career where he wants a different challenge and we at Warriors have reached a point where we have outstanding young home-grown centres coming through in Ollie Lawrence and Will Butler and experienced internationals such as Ashley Beck and Francois Venter.

“With that in mind there has been a consensus that the time is now right for Ryan to experience that different challenge.

“He will join Wasps with our very best wishes and thanks for all that he has done for the club.

"There will always be a warm welcome for Ryan here at Sixways.”

“I’d like to pay a special thanks to the Warriors’ players, staff and fans for their tremendous support over the past six years,” Mills said.

“I don’t regret a second of my time at the club. It was extremely difficult at times but also equally rewarding coming through some of the testing times as we did.

“I’ve made a number of lifelong friends at Warriors and will continue to give my all to the team until the end of the season and hopefully finish on as much of a high as possible with some good memories to take along with me.”

Lee Blackett, interim head coach of Coventry-based Wasps, said: “Ryan is someone we’ve had our eye on for a while.

"He’s an established Premiership player who is unlucky to have not picked up any international caps but hopefully we can help him achieve that ambition.

“He has the ability to unlock defences and plays a strong kicking game while he is a proven leader which will be a huge benefit to the squad.

“He is exactly what we need to add in our backline and having someone of his ilk joining the club is massive for all involved so we’re looking forward to having him on board.” 

Mills continued: “For me, I feel like it’s time for a fresh environment and a new, exciting challenge.

“Wasps is a club drenched in history and one that I have always been drawn towards, largely due to the attacking, exciting style of rugby.

"Hopefully I’ll be able to add to what’s an already dangerous backline and it’s something that I am very much looking forward to.

“Having a fantastic home ground to play at like Ricoh Arena is a real bonus while I’ve already got some good friends at the club like Dan Robson and have played with a few others in various teams, like Thomas Young at Gloucester and Josh Bassett and Joe Launchbury in the England age-groups.

“So I know the quality of player and personnel that I’ll be joining which makes the decision a lot easier and it’s another reason why I’m looking forward to a new chapter and pulling on the famous black and gold.”

Mills will take on his future team-mates when Warriors visit the Ricoh Arena on Saturday, March 28.