TOP BAR - Fixtures

Skipper GJ Van Velze signs new Worcester Warriors deal

Warriors have further illustrated their intentions to become a top-end Aviva Premiership side by extending the contract of number eight GJ van Velze.

The 6ft 5in South African arrived at Sixways from 2013/14 Aviva Premiership champions Northampton Saints and was immediately handed the captain’s armband by Director of Rugby Dean Ryan in his first season.

He enjoyed a remarkable debut campaign at Warriors, as he led them back to the Aviva Premiership at the first time of asking while also winning the British & Irish Cup.

Van Velze has bagged eight tries in 37 appearances to date for Warriors, including three in this season’s Aviva Premiership – the latest of which came in Saturday’s win over Harlequins where his quick-thinking and pace saw him race 45 metres to the tryline.

The 28-year-old said: "I came to Sixways to join what promised to be an exciting journey and that’s exactly what it’s been.

"We have achieved a great deal in a short space of time and we’re building something very special here.

"Signing a new deal was a no-brainer as everything is in place for this Club to become one of the best in Europe.

"The facilities and support we receive is world-class and we have a fantastic group of coaches and players, with a blend of talented youth and experience that bodes well for the future."

Director of Rugby Ryan added: "GJ joined the Club at a time of transition and has been one of the catalysts in our transformation over the last couple of seasons.

"He leads by example on the field and his work rate is second to none, while his experience has been a key component, particularly in crucial moments such as last season’s Championship final.

"We’re delighted he is committing himself to the cause and he will continue to be a vital part in helping this Club try and achieve its ambitions."

Meanwhile, tighthead prop James Johnston has agreed a deal to keep him at Sixways for the 2016/17 season.

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