DEAN Ryan has paid tribute to veteran Warriors lock Dean Schofield for the impact he is having on the young forwards at Sixways.
Former England international Schofield, who joined Worcester as a big-name signing from Toulon in 2012, has slipped out of Ryan's Aviva Premiership plans with James Percival, Mariano Galarza and Mike Williams ahead of him in the pecking order.
However, the 35-year-old second-rower, who won two caps for England, has been one of the stand-out performers in Worcester's recent Amlin and LV= cup games.
Sixways director of rugby Ryan said: "Dean put in a great shift against Sale and I thought he was a magnificent example of a good pro.
"He played as well as I have seen him in recent weeks and he provided a framework for youngsters to play around him.
“That takes some doing - it is what a good pro does and it allows people to grow alongside them. We will keep doing that and keep helping people to grow and get better, while we’ll ask some of the old pros to provide a bit of framework – that’s the right thing to do."
Alongside Zimbabwe-born Williams, who was signed this season, Warriors have up-and-coming locks in Christian Scotland-Williamson and Shay Kerry, who recently underwent surgery on a heart condition, and Ryan believes Schofield can be a fine mentor to them.
The Worcester boss added: "Christian has signed on with us for next year, but he has exams at Loughborough, so we obviously want him to finish those first, but he looked the real deal out there.
“Big Dean is here to show him around the tracks, how it works and in a couple of years’ time Christian becomes the big man in the Worcester pack.
“He looks raw and there is still a lot of work to do defensively and with conditioning, but he has a lot of potential. You shouldn’t underestimate how much intellect is held in the likes of Chris Jones and Dean, so it’s about getting the mix right.
“These opportunities will be the start for Christian to push on from, but we’re quite excited by him as well as a couple of the other youngsters."
Ryan added: "I have had reports from our medical team about Shay and I've heard everything was a success with his operation and we are delighted for him that there haven't been any issues."