WARRIORS have pulled off a major coup by signing Scotland and British and Irish Lions loosehead prop Rory Sutherland.
Sutherland, one of the leading looseheads in Europe, has joined Warriors from Edinburgh Rugby and will arrive at Sixways at the end of the Lions’ tour of South Africa.
His signing means that Warriors now have two players on the tour – Sutherland’s Scotland and Edinburgh team-mate, wing Duhan van der Merwe, was another high profile capture earlier this year – the club’s biggest-ever Lions’ representation.
Sutherland’s move to Sixways will also reunite him with Warriors Director of Rugby Alan Solomons who signed him for Edinburgh from Scottish Premiership club Gala in 2015.
“It is fantastic news for the club that Rory is joining us here at Sixways,” Solomons said.
“I have known Suzz since my Edinburgh days and we have always remained in touch. We brought Suzz into Edinburgh Rugby from Gala and he immediately made his mark.
“He is a terrific rugby player; a big, powerful, abrasive, scrummaging loosehead who really puts himself about.
“He has become a regular for Scotland and thoroughly deserved his selection for The Lions.
“Suzz is also a quality individual and a tremendous team man. He will add huge value and all of us are really looking forward to his arrival here at Sixways.”
Sutherland, 28, was born and raised in the Borders and played for Hawick and Biggar before Gala. He started out as a back-row forward in age group rugby but made the successful switch to the front row at senior level.
“I am absolutely delighted to have signed for Worcester Warriors. Speaking with Alan Solomons and Jonathan Thomas about their vision for the club and the role I could play within that, is what really propelled me to sign,” Sutherland said.
“Solly was the guy that gave me my first break as a professional and under him I earnt my first international cap. So he is a bloke I have a good relationship with and trust.
“I have spoken to many Premiership players over the years and they always talked about how attritional the league is. I knew one day that I wanted to come and sample it for myself.
“For me a lot of the signings Worcester have made is a statement of intent. I want to come here and help Worcester become a top side.
“When signing it was very important to me that the vision of the club was to have players that put the club first. That really played for the badge on the jersey and realised that they were representing not only the group but Worcester as a whole.
“The goals the coaches discussed with me are very much aligned with my own. As I say I want to come and be part of something successful and I have no doubt we will be at Worcester.”
Having made his Scotland debut against Ireland in Dublin in the 2016 Six Nations, Sutherland then suffered an abductor muscle injury which kept him sidelined for 14 months and prevented him from pushing for a place on the Lions’ tour to New Zealand in 2017.
He made a successful return to international rugby last year on the back of impressive performances for Edinburgh and helped Scotland to away wins against England and France in this season’s Six Nations.
“We are absolutely delighted to have secured Rory. It’s a statement of intent about where we want to go and what we want to achieve,” said Warriors head Coach Jonathan Thomas.
“We have talked about what we want to achieve but with the signings we have made we are backing up what we have talked about,
“Our ambition and vision are to be a top six team, we want to be playing in the European Champions Cup with a packed Sixways watching big battles.
“To achieve that ambition you need players of experience who have the ability to add value. We have now got two current British and Irish Lions in Duhan and Rory who are great signings for the club.
“When we spoke to Rory we were really impressed first and foremost by his humility but he also has an incredible work ethic. He’s very strong and physical and whilst he is a good set-piece operator he adds a lot of value around the field with his work rate on both sides of the ball.
“When you bring in someone who is a British Lion and a seasoned international you know they have certain standards and behaviours that other players see and look up to.
“Rory is someone who will raise standards and be a role model, especially for our young players.”