WORCESTER Warriors prop Val Rapava Ruskin doesn’t have to think too hard about his rugby idol.

Ruskin, who celebrates his 22nd birthday today, wants to follow in the footsteps of father George.

And Ruskin admits he’s adopted an important part of his father’s rugby mantra: ‘To play like a lion’.

“I have always looked up to my father – he is a legend back home in Georgia,” said Ruskin.

“He captained the Georgian na - tional rugby team and played for Toulouse in France.

“The mental and physical sides he brought to the game made him an outstanding player.

“My dad wasn’t the most talented player but his aggressiveness and devotion to the game made him a rugby legend back home.

“He always tells me that even if you only play 10 minutes make sure you always play like a lion rather than for 80 minutes as a sheep.

“As forwards, we have our job to do, set our own standards and we have to make sure we deliver.”

Ruskin added: “My dad believes I can progress my game with hard work and dedication.

“There’s a big competition be - tween me and him.

“He is quite tough on me – if I score five tries he will talk to me about a missed tackle and he al - ways wants me to be the best I pos - sibly can.”

The powerful Ruskin, who was born in Tbilisi, Georgia, has made an impressive start to the season, scoring three tries in three ap - pearances in the Greene King IPA Championship.

And Ruskin, whose arrival at the club went largely unnoticed by the supporters, has certainly made a big impression.

He is sure to catch the eye of the Georgia national team coaches with the World Cup next year.

“I have played for the Georgia under 19 age group side and I have been offered to play for the senior Georgian squad but I don’t want to rush a decision,” he said.

“When growing up my dream has always been to play for England but I am keeping an eye on Geor - gia.

“I want to develop as quickly as I can to the best of my abilities and then assess the situation.

“I have a lot to develop — men - tally, physically and technically to become an international.

“Everyone has a perception of Georgians being big ball carriers and not very technical but I have learnt my rugby in England.”

Ruskin arrived in this country with his family when he was two years old and grew up in London.

“I played my youth rugby at Blackheath for about six or seven years and I did well and it launched my career,” he said.

He started his professional ca - reer at Western Province in South Africa and has had stints at Sara - cens and Toulon.

“I had a trial at Worcester when I was at Toulon and, suddenly, I signed for Warriors and my move has been pretty low key,” he said.

He has learned a lot in a short space of time.

“When I came to Worcester my physical abilities and my physical attributes were present but I was struggling on the technical side.

“I was a back rower growing up and I played as a ball carrier.

“But I moved to loosehead prop when I went to South Africa.

“It has been a tough transition but a very effective decision.

“I have to give a lot of respect to the coaches and Dean Ryan, in par - ticular, for their help.

“Dean took me in and has trained me, personally, mentally, physical - ly and technically.

“There’s always room to improve and to get better and I will never take anything for granted.”