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New signings point to bright future says Ryan
9:46am Friday 21st February 2014 in Sport By Steve Carley - Midlands Sports Journalist of the Year 2013, @stevecarleyWN
DIRECTOR of rugby Dean Ryan says the calibre of players Warriors are recruiting shows their intent to succeed.
Although Worcester remain rooted to the bottom of the Aviva Premiership with just four points, they have unveiled some high-profile signings for next season.
Regardless of the league they are playing in, the likes of Northampton Saints number eight GJ Van Velze, Cardiff Blues back-rower Andries Pretorious and Harlequins winger Sam Smith will all be at Sixways in the summer.
In Ryan's words, these are not players who are short of options, they could have stayed where they were, at established Premiership and Pro12 outfits.
But they chose to join Worcester, despite knowing there is every chance they will be plying their trade in the second tier of English rugby.
The Warriors chief explained: "We want every person to have other options. People have to buy into what we're doing. If a player hasn't got options then he's probably not good enough for what we're trying to do here.
"If you look at the list of people, a lot are fronting up in other Premiership sides. Those players have significant choice, the challenge is to get those players engaged with what the future looks like here.
"You think of the choices Van Velze or Chris Pennell had. They really want to buy into this place.
"I'm really pleased with the type of people that we're being able to sell the future here to.
"Sam is playing top end Premiership, he's won titles with Quins. For him to buy into being here and what we're trying to do I think's tremendous."
He continued: "We set out a specific criteria of some top end performers who are experienced to build the club around. You can see Pretorious and Van Velze joining a (Jonathan) Thomas, (Agustin) Creevy and Pennell. That's a strong core and then you build the excitement round the outside with Smith, (Ryan) Mills, (Matt) Cox and Ryan Lamb.
"I am pleased with how far we've got, there's a more I want to get so work continues to try to ensure that we do that."
But while he is enthused by the future, Ryan is also fully aware of not letting it detract from the main aim of Premiership survival.
He said: "The target is to take the club back to being a place of ambition and enthusiasm and predominantly built around youngsters trying to prove a point.
"I am really excited about the group that we've got coming together and how much they can grow but that's for next year.
"Next year is something which is on the back-burner and a lot of energy is going into trying to fight for our survival this year."