FORMER Worcester Warriors lock James Percival was behind boss Alan Solomons’ decision to pluck promising prop Farai Mudariki out of the third tier of French rugby.

Solomons admitted he received a phone call from Percival to suggest Mudariki as a possible signing for Worcester having worked with him at Federale One outfit Stado Tarbes Pyrenees.

Percival, 34, came through the academy at Warriors and went on to make 88 appearances for the club before moving to France in 2015.

Solomons said Percival’s opinion was “highly valued” at Worcester and agreed to give Zimbabwean tighthead Mudariki a chance to impress at Sixways.

The 23-year-old is understood to have penned a one-year deal at Warriors and is due to arrive ahead of the 2018-19 Premiership campaign.

“James Percival who everybody knows here having played for Worcester phoned me about Farai,” Solomons said.

“He was working in France with Farai and said he was a really good young player and had real potential.

“James’ opinion is highly valued, certainly here at Worcester, so (the signing of Mudariki) happened on the back of that recommendation.

“Obviously we did further work as we had a look at video clips of him, particularly Mefin Davies who looked at his scrummaging and we looked at his background.”

Mudariki spent two seasons at Castres Espoirs, the youth academy side for Top 14 club Castres, before making the move to Stado Tarbes Pyrenees.

“The background of a player is very important to me,” Solomons said.

“For me, I always want to look at the man before I have a look at his competency.

“Farai comes out of a really good family.

“He went to one of the top private schools in South Africa, which has got a good rugby tradition as the likes of (Bristol head coach) Pat Lam went there.

“Farai is a lovely boy and came down here to meet everybody.

“He knows Marco (Marco) so I think James has done us a huge favour and I reckon Farai is going to go well here.”

Mudariki won his 10th cap for Zimbabwe in their 18-14 defeat to Tunisia at the weekend in this summer’s Rugby Africa Gold Cup which serves as a qualifier for the 2019 Rugby World Cup.

He will compete with Nick Schonert, Simon Kerrod and Gareth Milasinovich for the number three shirt at Warriors.

“Farai is playing for Zimbabwe at the moment,” Solomons added.

“He has played in a number of Test matches with his last one on the weekend.

“I think we have just got to give him a fair opportunity here.

“Obviously he has not been exposed to the level of rugby of the Premiership.

“But I think James’ recommendation was so strong that anything can happen.

“One does not know how he comes through but James was absolutely convinced about him.

“I have been in discussions with James and have been impressed with him as a bloke and everybody here has got good things to say about him.”