THE signing of Kyle Hatherell from Championship side Jersey Reds back in April raised a few eyebrows amongst Worcester Warriors' fans and was perhaps a name not many had heard of.

But fast forward eight months and you'll be sure to hear nothing but praise and admiration for the impact he has made so far in the 2021/22 campaign.

He has become somewhat of a regular in the back-row for Warriors, keeping the likes of both Sam Lewis and, at times, Matt Kvesic on the bench.

There have been games where even captain Ted Hill has been shifted around the back-row to accommodate for Hatherell, who has also featured in the second-row.

During Worcester's awful three-match run in October - losing three games back-to-back whilst conceding at least 40 points in each - the South African was one player who stood out.

His rampaging runs and monster hits have seen him quickly become a big hit with supporters and the media alike, as well as head coach Jonathan Thomas.

The Welshman was the first to spot Hatherell in the Championship.

"When we first saw him playing for Jersey I remember flagging him up as someone we should look," said Thomas.

"And the more we looked at him, the more we thought he could certainly make an impact at Premiership level with his physicality.

"The challenge then is a personality thing. I spoke to him over zoom and I figured out straight away that he was a really good kid, really keen to excel in the game.

"He's a bit of a late bloomer but sometimes they are the ones who haven't done it the normal way and they have built some character and resilience because of that.

"He has done the hard yards, he's a tough boy and his stats are up there with any of the back rows in the country.

"There is still a lot of growth, still his first year but he's getting better all the time and he has that want to develop and he listens, works hard and does all the things necessary to be successful at this level."

Having been brought up in South Africa, Hatherell moved to Scotland and played for Marr in the Scottish Premiership before he joined Jersey Reds in 2018.

He scored his first Worcester try in the defeat to Gloucester in round three and has often played a big role in plenty of other tries scored.

He is the latest in the line of players who have successfully made the jump up from the second-tier of English rugby into the Premiership and now is enjoying plenty of game time.

"I have been blessed with a lot of opportunities to put on the Worcester jersey," Hatherell said.

"The speed of the game is certainly quicker than in the Championship and now I am playing against the top teams and the top players in the world.

"I feel like the championship has developed me into the player I am today, it provides a great stepping stone."