IN a week where two club centurions have confirmed this season will be their last for Worcester Warriors, homegrown winger Noah Heward has paid tribute to the impact Niall Annett and Ethan Waller have had on him as a person and player.

Hooker Annett will depart Sixways in the summer to join Gallagher Premiership rivals Bath Rugby, whilst loosehead Waller will return to his old club Northampton Saints to join up with brother Alex.

Both reached the 100-cap milestone at the club and it was a shock to most to see them leave but as Heward explained, it's the harsh reality of professional sport.

"People move on, it's the harsh reality of professional sport and we saw that at the end of last season," he said.

"But Ethan and Niall have contributed so much to the club and have offered so much to the playing group but also to the wider community off the pitch.

"Niall was involved with Acorns (Acorns Children's Hospice; children's charity) and Ethan as well with this work for the RPA (Rugby Players Association), so they offer much more than just players in a team.

"When I was straight out of school, they were two friendly faces and both always looked out for me

"It was my first game back from injury last week and in the warm-up, Niall took the time to take me to the side and gave me some reassuring word and made sure i wasn't too nervous.

"You can't put a value on that and it's a shame to see them go but I am sure we will see replacements come in do an equally good job."

As he mentioned, Heward returned after a couple of months out with an ankle injury just last week in that 21-29 Gallagher Premiership defeat by Harlequins.

Having missed a chunk of the season, the winger is now eager to try and cement a regular place in the Worcester first-team.

"If you can get in the team, you will get picked again regardless of age or experience. If young guys come in and perform, they earn the right to keep the shirt.

"He (Steve Diamond) has given players opportunities to players in different positions and we had a very young back-line last week against Quins.

"It's great that everyone is getting an opportunity and we all need to fight for places in the team and also fight for contracts.

"So for me, it's just a case of me trying to get as many minutes as I can and keep impressing."

Heward and Warriors make the trip to London Irish this Saturday to face one of the in-form sides in the country.

Irish have beaten Saracens and Exeter Chiefs in recent weeks at home and will provide the sternest of tests for this Worcester team.