WARRIORS hooker Niall Annett will extend his stay with the club to eight years, having signed a two-year contract extension.
The amiable Irishman arrived at Sixways in the summer of 2014 from Ulster and has established himself as a crowd favourite with Warriors.
Annett, 28, missed the whole of the 2017/18 season through injury and returned from a shoulder problem suffered midway through the 2018/19 campaign to play a prominent role in helping Warriors secure Premiership status.
Having signed a one-year contract extension at the end of last season, Annett has now been rewarded for his consistency this term with a longer-term deal.
“I’m delighted to have it wrapped up earlier than last season and to commit my future to the club which I am very fond of and passionate about having been here for six years,” Annett said.
“The progress we are making is evident in the games we have played each year. We are becoming more consistent and that progress is ongoing.
“I am playing the rugby I knew I could and I am delighted I have been able to go out there and show I am not a bad rugby player.”
Annett, a former Ireland Under-20s skipper, has shown his leadership qualities by captaining Warriors in recent matches against Sale Sharks and Dragons and his decision to sign a longer deal with the club has delighted director of rugby Alan Solomons.
“Niall has been an integral part of the club for some time and I am really pleased that he has decided to continue with us here at Sixways,” Solomons said.
“Niall is an experienced hooker with an excellent set-piece game. He is also a skilled, intelligent footballer with a high work-rate.
“Over and above this he has good leadership qualities and is a great team man. He has been in a rich vein of form lately and has led the side well.
“He will add huge value as we look to take the club forward and I am pleased to be able to continue working with him.”
Annett is the ninth current Warriors player to sign a contract extension following Ted Hill, Andrew Kitchener, Francois Venter, Nick Schonert, Sam Lewis, Anton Bresler, Ethan Waller and Gareth Simpson.
On the field, Warriors return to Gallagher Premiership action under the Kingsholm lights on Friday (December 20) when they travel down the M5 to face Gloucester.
Solomons’ men go into the clash after missing out on a bonus point and their 50th European Challenge Cup victory with a 25-16 reverse at the hands of the Dragons on Friday.
Sam Davies kicked 20 points for Dragons at Rodney Parade, with six penalties and a conversion of centre Adam Warren’s try.
For Worcester, outside-half Duncan Weir booted 11 points and wing Tom Howe also crossed for a try.
The match was marred by a red card for Warriors’ replacement prop Ethan Waller from French referee Ludovic Cayre for an alleged shoulder to the head.