Worcester Warriors bring in Harlequins hooker Chris Brooker
New Worcester Warriors coach Dean Ryan has made his first signing by bringing in England Saxons hooker Chris Brooker from Harlequins.
Worcester had already made eight signings for next season prior to Ryan's arrival, including another hooker, Montpellier's Agustin Creevy.
But first-choice hooker Aleki Lutui left to join Edinburgh last month.
- Chris Brooker, who was first called up by England Saxons in January 2012, made 84 appearances in his five seasons at The Stoop after moving from Bath in 2007.
- He was part of England's Under-21 Grand Slam-winning team while still at Bath in 2006.
- Brooker is Worcester's ninth new signing for the 2013-14 season. Ryan's predecessor Richard Hill had already brought in Ignacio Mieres (Exeter), Paul Warwick (Stade Francais), Paul Stephenson (Bedford), Leonardo Senatore (Toulon), Agustin Creevy (Montpellier), Mike Williams (Blue Bulls), Ofa Fanga'anuku (Glasgow Warriors) and Paul Andrew (Cornish Pirates)
Brooker, 26, will compete with Creevy, Ed Shervington and Ollie Hayes to line up in the middle of their front row.
Bristol-born Brooker has not played since suffering a bad knee injury in February 2012, just a week after being called up to the England squad as cover for Lee Mears.
But fears that it could have been a career-ending injury proved groundless - and he is now understood to be fully fit, having simply fallen behind Joe Gray and Rob Buchanan in the Quins pecking order.
"I have worked hard and I am gagging to get back out there and put a tackle in," said Brooker.
"A week before the injury I got called into the England squad for the Six Nations game against Wales.
"I had played Saxons as well so things were going really well.
"Then I played Newcastle and got the injury, from the biggest high to the greatest low in your career.
"You wonder if you will ever play again. I have been able to work on my ball skills and still do my throwing, but the next step is to get back into contact and start the season well."