NEW Worcester Warriors lock George Merrick explains how he “couldn’t say no” to the chance of playing at Worcester after being left bottom of the pile in France.

Merrick spent the 2019/20 season at Clermont Auvergne in the French Top 14 league and managed 11 appearances before circumstances went against him.

“It was really good first six or seven months, I got regular game time,” he said.

“The rugby, the top 14, was good experience for me, they are big guys that didn’t want to play at too much pace which suited me and the lifestyle, was very laid back, very chilled, very French.

“The French language came on a little bit but not enough, I could get myself a beer and that’s about it!”

“Then some things went against me.

“Sébastien Vahaamahina announced out of nowhere he was retiring from international rugby after the Rugby World Cup which was bad for me because when he was away with France it was a good opportunity for me to play.

“They also brought in the new rule where you could only play so many foreigners and unfortunately Clermont have a whole backlog of international Kiwis and Samoans who, to be fair to them, they’re so good they couldn’t kick them out the team.

“So for me it was going from fringe player, starting sometimes to bottom of the pecking order to be honest.”

The 28-year old was not satisfied with the lack of game time and recalls the moment Alan Solomons called him and Merrick said it was an opportunity too good to turn down.

“They (Clermont) were nice about it,” he added.

“We came to an agreement where I said to them that I didn’t want to sit around and not play because I was at the peak of my career, 28 and quite a lot of experience, I’ve got over 100 caps for Quins

“And then Solly called me up last minute and said, look, would you be interested in coming, and with a club like Worcester I couldn’t say no to that.

“It’s somewhere new for me but it’s still home isn’t it.”

Despite the frustrating start to the season, where Warriors have won just one of their three opening games, Merrick says he has settled quickly.

“I love it,” he said.

“I’ve been here six weeks now, it’s a really good set-up, really good boys here as well.

“Shame the results haven’t gone our way but we’re sat here knowing what we have to do to rectify that.

“I think it’ll be good going to a different tournament playing against a fresh team this week.

“Obviously I have played against Pau (Warriors opponents this weekend) and some of the boys in the group have also so that should play into our hands slightly.

“But in terms of settling in here, I absolutely love it to be honest, the coaches and the boys, all great.”