OUT-OF-CONTRACT hooker Niall Annett has “showed his worth” to Worcester Warriors director of rugby Alan Solomons.

With Jack Singleton (elbow) ruled out through injury and Joe Taufete’e away on international duty with USA, Annett came to Solomons’ aid last Saturday.

The 27-year-old, whose contract is due to expire this summer, made a quicker-than-expected recovery from a shoulder issue to start against Exeter Chiefs in the Gallagher Premiership.

And the Ulsterman played a starring role in the 33-30 defeat as he was accurate at the lineout and assisted for two of Worcester’s four tries before looking in pain when he left the field.

Although Solomons refused to be drawn into questions over Annett’s future he hailed the ex-Ireland under 20s captain’s bravery and described him as a “good clubman”.

Solomons, who has retained 17 members of his current squad ahead of next season, also said he hoped to complete the retention process “within the next week or so”.

“Niall was fantastic on Saturday,” Solomons said. “He had recovered from the injury.

“I wouldn’t say he was free of pain but he played right through it.

“The lineout worked well and when Isaac (Miller) came on it continued to operate superbly which was great to see.

“But Niall had a terrific game.”

Annett had been due to return in time for Warriors’ trip to Bristol Bears later this month but passed a fitness test ahead of the Chiefs clash.

“He had to come through Wednesday’s practice which he did so I was then pretty confident (he would be able to play),” Solomons said.

“We had a meeting with the medical staff on Thursday and as he showed no reaction from the practice on Wednesday, which was quite physical, I was fairly confident he would be OK to play which he was.”

Annett, who injured his shoulder in Warriors’ Premiership Cup semi-final against Saracens last month, lasted 62 minutes before being replaced by Miller at the weekend.

“He is going to be sore, that’s for sure,” Solomons said.

“That’s why I have got a lot of admiration for him.

“He was OK to play but like a lot of players let’s give him the praise that he deserves.”

Annett arrived at Sixways from Ulster in the summer of 2014 and scored a last-minute try in the first leg of the Championship play-off final against Bristol which proved to be crucial in Warriors’ promotion back to the top-flight in 2015.

The past two seasons have been blighted by injuries for Annett who sustained knee ligament damage that ruled him out of the 2017-18 campaign.

Speaking to the Worcester News last month Annett admitted he was a “little uncertain” over his future having struggled to nail down a place in the team this term.

Asked whether he had held contract negotiations with Annett, Solomons replied: “I will ask for you to be patient with me.

“We are getting to the conclusion of that process and hopefully within the next week or so that will be concluded.

“But Niall is a good man and a good clubman.

“In the last two seasons he has unfortunately had a litany of injures.

“But I thought he showed his worth on Saturday. I thought he was tremendously brave in the way he played.”

SIGNED: Carey, Fidow, Kitchener, Kitto, Nanai.

RE-SIGNED: Bower, Butler, Cox, Heaney, Hill, Howe, Humphreys, Lawrence, Mama, Miller, Mudariki, Pennell, Shillcock, van Breda, van Velze, Williams, Weir.

FUTURES TO BE RESOLVED: Adams, Annett, Arr, Barry, Fa’osiliva, Kerrod, Kirwan, Olivier, Potgieter, Singleton, Te’o.

DEPARTING: Phillips, Milasinovich, Heem.