WARRIORS director of rugby Alan Solomons admitted competition for places may have led to USA international hooker Joe Taufete’e joining French giants Lyon at the end of the season.

The 27-year-old’s likely departure was reported by the Worcester News in January following speculation linking him to a move away from Sixways but the club made it official on Wednesday.

And Solomons believes the Samoan-born hooker has the credentials to succeed with Lyon who currently sit second in the French Top 14 just four points off leaders Bordeaux Begles.

“You have to look at it from Joe’s perspective,” the Worcester boss said. “He needs to play, he now needs the game time and I think the (French) league will suit him.

“He’s a dynamic athlete and very powerful, good in the scrum and explosive around the park.

“This gives him a new experience. He’s a big, strong, physical hooker and I think he’ll do really well in France.

“Joe has given great service to the club, he’s a terrific bloke and a good team man and I’ve really enjoyed working with him.”

And Solomons admitted the battle for a first XV shirt could have contributed to Taufete’e seeking a new challenge elsewhere.

“There’s competition among the players and amongst the hookers,” he said.

“When I first came here Joe played a hell of a lot but last season not as much.

“Niall (Annett) got injured and Joe played a bit but then Niall returned and played quite a bit — both have their strengths and weaknesses but now there’s competition.

“We have two really good young hookers coming through in Beck Cutting and Isaac Miller. Mouldsy (Matt Moulds) is captain and Niall is also playing really well.

“Mouldsy has been great for us and he’s a superb player.

“Niall is also a very good all-round hooker — good technician, good in the scrum, good at lineout time and intelligent as well as working really hard around the pitch.

“So there’s good competition there and then the two youngsters are both terrific young players.

“Joe is a good player but there comes a time within most players’ careers when they look for a different challenge.

“Players now don’t spend their time in one place any more, some do but it’s the exception rather than the rule.”

Taufete’e made 46 appearances for Warriors and scored six tries.

He also broke the try-scoring record for a front-row forward in international rugby last year with his hat-trick for USA against Uruguay taking him to 18.

Taufete’e was shortlisted for World Rugby men’s 15’s player of the year in 2019 but despite his impressive international form struggled to get into the Warriors team in the 2018-19 campaign.