New Warriors forward Chris Brooker admits he can’t wait to get back onto the rugby pitch as he looks to resurrect his career at Sixways.
The hooker was on the verge of making his full international debut less than 15 months ago when he was called-up to England’s 2012 RBS Six Nations squad as cover for Lee Mears.
But after injuring his knee in Harlequins’ 9-9 draw against Newcastle Falcons less than two weeks after his call-up, Brooker has instead spent the last year planning his return.
He said: “I have worked hard and I am gagging to get back out there and put a tackle in – it has been too long.
“A week before the injury I got called into the England EPS squad for the Six Nations game Wales as cover for Lee Mears. I had played Saxons as well so things were going really well.
“Then I played Newcastle and got the injury, from then biggest high to the greatest low in your career.
“You wonder if you will ever play again. I have been able to work on my ball skills and still do my throwing, but the next step is to get back into contact and start the season well.”
After plying his trade at Bath Rugby during the early stages of his career, Brooker moved to Harlequins in the summer of 2007.
The Bristolian went on to make 84 appearances during his time at Twickenham Stoop but has now turned his attention to helping Warriors climb the Aviva Premiership.
He continued: “I haven’t played at Sixways too much, but I am well aware of the fan base here and the ambition.
“I know James Percival and John Andress from Quins so there are a few familiar faces here.
“I always followed Gloucester when I was younger so I know Dean Ryan and know what he has achieved in the game already.
“I had never met him before I signed but he has a great reputation and I am looking forward to being a player at his club.”
Brooker has also paid tribute to the staff at Harlequins who helped him during his road to recovery.
He added: “I can’t thank Harlequins enough for what they have done for me. They have been awesome to me for the last six years and, in particular, over the last 16 months when I have been injured – they have been amazing.
“I couldn’t walk for four months but they stood by me and supported me. From the players up to the coaching staff, they have been great. It is sad to leave but it’s time to start afresh and this is an opportunity I plan to take.”
“I have worked hard and I am gagging to get back out there and put a tackle in – it has been too long…"