After several years of looking for a natural successor to the indomitable Tevita Taumoepeau, Worcester Warriors have finally imported one. Ladies and gentleman Euan is in the building.
Step forward Euan Murray, current Scotland international, probably two-time British Lion and potentially the finest tighthead in the northern hemisphere.
Where front-rowers like Bruce Douglas, Oliver Tomaszczyk, Shaun Ruwers and Jack Gilding have failed, if Murray’s pedigree and experience are anything to go by he is almost certain to add his name to a list of Warriors’ greatest scrum anchors.
Indeed, the baton that was passed from Neil Lyman to Chris Horsman to Taumoepeau looks set to belong to Murray for as long as he wants it now that he has completed his autumn international commitments with beleaguered Scotland.
All of which means, thanks for your time but step aside John Andress. Or does it?
The Irishman has started every Aviva Premiership match so far this season and while his performances haven’t been without blemish – no-one mention the four first-half infringements conceded against Gloucester – they do at least appear to be on an upward curve.
Certainly Richard Hill thought so after last Friday night’s 12-3 slugfest victory over Saracens in which the head coach identified Andress as one of Worcester’s best players.
“He was exceptional,” Hill said. “That was the most I have seen him carry and be hungry and tackle. In the loose he had a terrific game [too].”
Which is a pretty big turnaround given the fact that after coughing up two free-kicks for early engagement in the opening exchanges, Andress was a slipped bind from an inauspicious and embarrassingly early substitution.
“Maybe Euan Murray arriving this week added a bit of motivation,” Hill speculated.
Which would make it a tad ironic if Andress’s finest game in the Blue and Gold turned out to be the beginning of the end.
Mercifully it won’t be just yet. Worcester go to Harlequins tomorrow night and the need to parachute the newly-arrived Murray straight into the first team has been abated by Andress’s improvement.
Andress has retained the starting berth and Murray will watch from the replacements bench and while that might not be the same situation a week today when Warriors play Perpignan, the incumbent will still be involved. Especially during the Six Nations.
Which is probably why Andress is taking such a positive view of his new-team-mate’s arrival. “Euan is a quality player, the coaches make whatever decision they want to. I felt like I put in a good performance against Saracens and I welcome any competition, that can’t help but drive you on if someone is at your heels” the 28-year-old said.
“Whatever strengthens our squad and makes Worcester a better side, I am happy with because I am all about the club because if the club is moving forward, I am too.
“There is going to be competition all over but if you look at the top sides in the league, Leicester, Northampton, sides that want to be up there, all have quality props, that’s where they’ll sign first to make sure their tighthead is a really strong position.
“They have three international tightheads at Leicester and if we want to be competing with the likes of Leicester, Northampton and Saracens, we have got to have the same thing. I am happy with Euan coming here.”
If there is a good time for an international challenger to arrive in your position, this is probably it. Andress gave an excellent account of himself against Saracens’ Matt Stevens last time out.
And tomorrow’s clash with his former club Quins will add another frisson of significance for the ex-Chief.
Andress spent two seasons at the Twickenham Stoop and while the second didn’t match up to the promise of the first, he looks back on it as a happy period in his career.
Throw into the mix the fact that Worcester appear to be on the brink of cracking mid-table and a stage perfect for an upset begins to emerge.
“I always look forward to going back there. In my second season I tore my bicep then I was in and out of contract negotiations so it was a tough season.
“But I think they know what I can do, I played against them twice for Exeter last year and thought I put in some good performances. You always cherish playing against a side you used to play at to show them what they are missing.
“We are a very difficult nut to crack at home but we need to be as difficult away. Phil Larder brought that up in a meeting and we see it as a massive opportunity against the top side in the league.
“They are going to be fuming at losing to Bath, they are going to be champing at the bit to get home and get a victory against us. We will have to really turn up there and bring our A game.
“But we aspire to be in the top six if not better, that’s our plan for the end of the season and I think Saracens was a good win against a top side.
“We have to kick on from there, we have a good opportunity against a slightly weakened Harlequins side on their home turf and we have got absolutely nothing to lose.
“I think we can just go out there with the same mindset, put up a good performance and maybe cut out a few of the silly mistakes from Friday and I think we can come away with something.”
And if Andress can give another strong account of himself even Euan Murray might be restricted to the role of support act. For now.