MATT Williams says Chinnor have pulled off a coup in signing Worcester Warriors forward Carl Kirwan.

The 28-year-old has stepped down two levels to join the Thame-based club after spending the last five seasons in the top flight of English rugby.

Kirwan, who played for London Welsh during their winless 2014-15 campaign, has been at Worcester for the last four years.

With his contract expiring this summer, Chinnor worked hard to secure the services of the back-row forward, who will combine his playing duties with being the National League 1 club’s defensive coach.

They are also helping Kirwan outside of rugby, setting up a job opportunity in construction, where he has previous experience having worked as an offshore scaffolder in the North Sea before turning professional.

“Signing him is a coup,” said Chinnor’s director of rugby Williams.

“It was only in recent times that he still harboured a desire to play in the top flight, but I opened dialogue with Carl just to see where his head was at.

“The opportunity of working, mixed with the opportunity to progress his coaching, was the deciding factor with not continuing in the Premiership.”

Kirwan’s performances for Welsh earned a move to Sixways in 2015, where his opportunities have been limited due to a shoulder injury which kept him out of the entire 2017/18 campaign.

He appeared 17 times, scoring two tries, for Worcester in the top tier and has played against the likes of the Ospreys in the European Challenge Cup.

With Kirwan back to full fitness, Williams is excited to see the former Rotherham Titans man in a Chinnor jersey.

He said: “It’s well documented that Carl’s had a tough couple of years with injuries.

“But what’s exciting for us is I’m getting a fully-fit, fully-focused Premiership-quality player who has an awful lot left to give.

“Carl is also flexible in the back row – he’s equally happy playing six, seven or eight and he gives us the opportunity of having versatility.

“He’s a natural leader as well – he’s very professional and serious.”

Kirwan has become Chinnor’s eighth signing of the summer, joining the likes of Chris Elder and Laurence May who have also moved away from the professional game to play at Kingsey Road.

Williams believes one of the factors in attracting such talents is the club’s ability to support them off the pitch.

He said: “We’re very blessed here that we can help assist players with careers post-rugby.

“I have a board who are very successful businessmen that are able to help careers and that’s key to our DNA.

“It’s becoming a common theme at the moment where players are coming out of the Championship at a younger and younger age.

“They’re full-time and not being paid an equivalent full-time salary as you would in the working world, so boys are having enough.

“Now we are in National 1, we are able to help people with that.”