LOOSEHEAD prop Val Rapava Ruskin says he feels very much part of Worcester Warriors’ bid to return to the top tier of English rugby.

The 22-year-old Georgian admits he’s been keeping a close eye on Bristol’s scrum “since day one” as he looks to get an advantage in the set- piece.

Ruksin is jostling for the number one staring berth with Ryan Bower and has made 13 appearances for Worcester in the Greene King IPA Championship this term, scoring six tries.

“Everything has been going very well and I believe I am progressing a lot,” said Ruskin.

“My main focus is to grow as an individual and fit into the team and try to do my job better than anyone else.

“There’s a lot of positive competition between me and the other looseheads but it’s good competition and it helps us to grow and put pressure on ourselves.

“Our captain, GJ van Velze, has accepted me into the squad and has helped me improve my game and fit in with the boys as well as the coaches.

“The coaches have been helping me as an individual on very specific things which, when some other things come together, makes a huge difference.”

Tbilisi-born Ruskin arrived in the UK with his family when he was two years old and grew up in London, where he is still based.

He started his youth rugby at Blackheath, started his professional career at Western Province in South Africa and had stints at Saracens and Toulon.

His father, George Ruskin, is a former Georgian international, who played for Toulouse and Wasps in the 1990s.

“My dad is a giant at 6ft 10 and was a great ball carrier and he got some of the traits that I am missing,” said Ruskin.

“He’s got the same type of trait as Dean Ryan — he doesn’t look at the good things I have done — he sees specific things I can improve on and I am thankful for that.

“I have been fortunate to play a lot of rugby around the world in France, South Africa and Georgia and I have picked up a lot of good traits from each style of rugby.

“When it comes to scrums it’s all about experience and the more scrummaging you do, the more you understand the game and the more you understand yourself,” said Ruskin.

“That’s why we get to the club at 6am in the morning to try to achieve those small differences.

“Dean Ryan tells me my main objective is the scrum and once you do that everything else is just a huge plus for you and as long as you can do your job everything else is a huge positive.

“It has really developed and we always speak after training from his point of view what he thinks I could do better.

“I don’t really want Dean to restrict the advice solely to what a prop should do. You can never know too much and be too good at anything.

“I want Dean to be hard on me and pressure me because that’s how you improve. Our main thing is not to be satisfied by any result and just keep going and improving as a unit.

“It has been a tough season getting to know each other, getting the bond on the field and adjusting to the system we play.”

Ruskin has represented Georgia at under 19 level but is focussing on Worcester’s promotion bid — not at the prospect of a World Cup spot.

“We are ticking the boxes to make sure everything is the way we want it to be and once we go into that play-off stage,” he said.

“Unfortunately, I wasn’t there for the first match of the season but I have been studying Bristol from day one and I am sure all of the lads are keeping a close eye on them.”

He added: “My main objective is to help the squad and help Worcester get back to the Premiership.”