SAFETY might be secured with two games to spare but returning captain Gerrit-Jan van Velze has urged his team-mates not to “throw in the towel”.

Boosted by retaining their Gallagher Premiership status Worcester Warriors head to play-off chasing Northampton Saints on Saturday (3pm) for the penultimate match of their season.

Warriors sealed survival last week with a 27-20 victory over local rivals Gloucester at a jubilant Sixways.

It was a huge relief for Worcester’s fans but van Velze, 31, insisted the pressure remained on the players to build on their last two victories.

“We would like to finish strongly,” said the experienced number eight whose team end the season at home to Saracens on May 18.

“It would be an injustice to ourselves if we were to just throw in the towel now.

“It’s a great opportunity and a great occasion to go and play at Franklin’s Gardens.

“I think it’s one of the top clubs in the country and one of the top stadiums to play at and there is always a bit of added spice for myself, Ethan Waller and Matti Williams going back to our old club.

“It’s Northampton’s last home game and they are pushing for the top four so they’ve got a lot to prove.

“We have enjoyed the way we have played and every moment on the pitch. We want to continue that.”

On the relief of avoiding the drop, van Velze said: “It’s never been about winning because of relegation.

"The pressure has always been there to perform and show the people out there what you are capable of.

“You can see people (breathe a sigh of relief) and think the pressure is off.

“It is funny to see that because I never felt that (relegation) was hanging over us.

“Maybe it’s human nature to do that but for us as players we have still got to improve.”

Tenth-placed Warriors have achieved 41 points so far this term which is their joint-third highest tally in their 13 seasons in the Premiership.

They are eight points away from beating their best haul that came in the 2005-06 season when they came eighth.

“Those things are always nice to see,” van Velze said.

“Nobody speaks about that around the club as a goal.

“But we like to perform well and when you win you can get those extra bonus points.

“It would be nice to know that you can get a bit of reward for all the effort and sacrifice that we have made in almost 12 months.

“If that (record) is the reward that’ll be very nice.”

But van Velze, who is back in the first XV after recovering from a fractured forearm, feels Warriors face a tough challenge at fourth-placed Saints.

“They’ve got a lot of youngsters coming through and an exciting coaching set-up,” van Velze added.

“There is a reason why they won the Premiership Cup and that’s because they play great rugby.

“They went away to Clermont which is a very tough place and almost got a result so they are a very physical team and a proud club.”