DIRECTOR of rugby Alan Solomons says “game-managing scrum-half” Gareth Simpson reminds him of England and Saracens star Richard Wigglesworth.

There might be a 14-year age gap between the pair with Wigglesworth, 36, winning multiple titles with Sarries and 33 international caps.

But Solomons believes Simpson, 22, has already established a “very good understanding of the game” and has the skillset and work ethic to “go places” in his career.

“You have got to look at it in two aspects – one is his character and the second is his ability,” Solomons said.

“He has shown he has got resilience and understands that you have got to work hard to gain success which is a really good attitude to have.

“He has also got undoubted ability and a good rugby brain.

“I know he is much younger than Richard Wigglesworth, but he reminds me of him a lot.

“He has got a really good boot, a very good understanding of the game and is a good passer but works like crazy as well.”

Coventry-born Simpson grew up in Durban where he played for C Cell Sharks in the Currie Cup before having a stint in New Zealand with Wellington and then securing a trial at Warriors 12 months ago.

The half-back soon impressed Solomons as he won a senior academy contract before being offered a two-year professional deal this week.

“He came here on trial to prove himself and he has done,” Solomons said.

“He has clearly got the ability, but he works hard too.

“Every Wednesday he is here practising his passing and kicking. He is a very good young pro and will go places.

“He is going to be a very good game-managing nine. It’s fantastic to get a young player like that starting to come through as a nine."

Simpson made his senior debut when he came off the bench in the Premiership Cup win over Leicester Tigers in September and scored his first Warriors try against Enisei-STM in the European Challenge Cup last month.

He has also shown his versatility, playing at fly-half for Worcester Cavaliers and stepping in at full-back in last Saturday’s clash with Dragons.

“It’s great that he can play at nine and 10,” Solomons said.

“That’s gone out of vogue a little bit.

“Years back when I was in the Super Rugby for the first time Jon Preston of New Zealand could do that for Wellington.

“He could play at nine or 10 and it made no difference to him.

“I have not come across it too much but it is invaluable to have in your team.

“I had that in Edinburgh with Greig Laidlaw. Greg could play at nine or 10 and could goal-kick.

“Simmo is not Greig who is an established Test player. But Simon can do both and goal-kick as well.

“I think scrum-half has become highly specialised, but versatility is a big attribute.

“Scott van Breda is another player that has versatility.

“Apart from nine he can play anywhere in the backline.

“It makes a difference when you are looking at six-two splits (on the bench).

“South Africa did that (in the Rugby World Cup final). They went with a six-two split as Francois Steyn can play anywhere.”