DIRECTOR of rugby Dean Ryan says it is time for his players to prove they are worthy of wearing the Worcester Warriors jersey or face the consequences.
Ryan was fuming after Saturday's 42-3 LV= Cup defeat to Exeter Chiefs and admitted he was embarrassed by the performance.
But he is set to resist the temptation to turn to the club's youngsters for Friday's crucial Aviva Premiership match against Leicester Tigers at Sixways (7.45pm) and will instead keep faith with the majority of those who lined up at the weekend.
However, he has not ruled out a return for Argentine hooker Agustin Creevy, who has been sidelined since November with a knee injury.
Ryan said: "Let's not think there's wholesale changes available here just for the sake of it. This isn't about developing any more or asking a youngster to create an opportunity, we've done that.
"Now it's about people performing at the highest level against Leicester and I hope everybody is prepared to represent themselves and this club proudly.
"There's lots of ambition and enthusiasm that can brought by youngsters but, at the same time, we have got to get that balance right.
"We are now fighting for our lives and it's important that responsibility falls on those people who should be leading.
"If, ultimately, they can't then it leaves you little choice but, at the moment, I am looking for a similar squad that's been used in the key games to see if they can respond to the challenge.
"I can't hide from how disappointed I was that they didn't front up at the weekend.
"We've done a lot of talking and we haven't always got the reaction we've wanted. We're running out of words and it's only about actions now because it's too late in the day.
"If we can't get the actions required then we'll have to live with the consequences of that."
On Creevy, the Sixways chief added: "He's coming back from long-term injury but there's a possibility we can get him involved."
Winless Warriors are 11 points from safety and have just 10 games to claw themselves off the bottom of the table.
Ryan said: "It's a tough challenge but we've put ourselves into that hole and we're going to have to take a scalp like Leicester, Northampton or Quins to get ourselves out.
"I recognise people's disappointment watching but we need all the help we can get. If people are serious about trying to contribute, we need to give ourselves every chance."
Meanwhile, Warriors will be featured on tonight's BT Sport rugby show and vice-captain Chris Pennell will be a guest. Fifty fans will be in the audience and the club have laid on free coach travel to London.