Worcester have signed lock George Merrick and loosehead prop Marc Thomas for the start of the new Gallagher Premiership season later this month, the experienced pair providing cover for Graham Kitchener (foot stress fracture) and academy prop Lewis Holsey (dislocated shoulder).

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Merrick, who has Premiership experience with Harlequins, arrives at Worcester after a season with Clermont in France’s Top 14 while Thomas joins from Harlequins.

“Both George and Marc will provide invaluable cover for us in what will be an arduous season,” said Warriors boss Alan Solomons. “George is a really big man with heaps of Premiership experience and we are most fortunate to have secured his services.

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Former Leicester and Chiefs forward Thomas Waldrom was recently singing Exeter’s praises to RugbyPass

“Marc is an experienced player and a good scrummager who comes to us after a spell with Harlequins. Both lads have fitted in well here at Sixways and I have no doubt that they will make their mark. I look forward to working with them.”

Merrick, 28, was a Six Nations U20s Championship winner with England in 2012 who went to make more than 100 appearances for Harlequins in a six-year career at The Stoop. The 6ft 8in tall second row made ten appearances in the Top 14 last season and also played for Clermont in their 52-26 home Heineken Champions Cup victory over Bath last December.

Thomas, 30, began his career with his local club Builth Wells before moving to Bridgend Ravens where he was spotted by Ospreys who recruited him to the Swansea-based region. He had a season of Championship rugby with Jersey Reds, another with Cardiff Blues and then returned to the Championship with Yorkshire Carnegie in 2017 before joining Doncaster Knights for the start of last season.

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The early end to the Championship campaign season caused by Covid-19 gave Thomas the chance to play in the Premiership for the first time when he joined Harlequins on a short-term contract. He made five appearances, his debut coming as a replacement in their defeat to Warriors at Sixways in August.

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