Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 25 October 2014

England consideration for Pennell

Chris Pennell admits he will be hard-pressed to realise his England ambitions from the Championship after Worcester's Aviva Premiership relegation was all-but confirmed

Chris Pennell has refused to rule out seeking a loan deal at an Aviva Premiership club next season in order to chase his England ambitions.

The Worcester full-back is preparing for life in the Championship next term after the Warriors' relegation was all-but confirmed in Saturday's six-try defeat at Saracens.

Pennell scored twice in Worcester's 44-20 loss at Allianz Park, the result sealing his side's last-place Premiership finish.

The RFU's Professional Game Board (PGB) will meet on Thursday to rule on the promotion suitability of the four Championship play-off contenders.

Rotherham's deal to stage matches at Barnsley's Oakwell ground next term means all four Championship semi-finalists should meet the promotion criteria.

Worcester could have their relegation officially confirmed on Friday, but the club admitted their Premiership tenure is up after Saturday's loss in north London.

Pennell, 27, signed a three-year contract extension in December and admits he wants to help his hometown club thrive again, but conceded it will be tough to force an England opening from the Championship.

And when asked after the defeat if he would consider going on loan next season, the uncapped Pennell said: "It's not a common thing for someone playing in the second tier to be in the England set-up; maybe there's a conversation to be had another time.

"Next year is a massive year from an international point of view.

"I can't predict the future but at the minute I'm going to be playing in the Championship for Worcester next season.

"I've got a lot of love for this club.

"They have been amazing to me through difficult times and I owe them a lot.

"A huge amount of that drives my loyalty and it will mean a lot to me if I finish my career knowing that I have shaped a successful future for Worcester."

Rugby director Dean Ryan has already secured 15 recruits for next term with Worcester's board admitting they lost their way under previous coach Richard Hill.

Pennell has backed former Gloucester boss and England loose-forward Ryan to complete a successful Sixways overhaul and guide the club back to the Premiership.

"We're obviously gutted," said Worcester academy graduate Pennell.

"I think we gave ourselves a good chance over the last couple of months and we've come an awful long way as a group.

"Unfortunately it was too little, too late.

"We've made huge strides compared to the side we were at the start of the season, but that change needed to come happen earlier.

"It wasn't to be.

I've been really impressed with the guys that are coming in.

"It's obvious that Dean (Ryan) is trying to bring some youth in, some hungry and ambitious players.

"People like that can really help move the place forward.

"I know the type of people Dean wants and I'm confident the guys coming in will really add something.

"We know that it's not an easy league and we're not going to take anything for granted. We're going to have to scrap for everything.

"The long-term future has always been really positive but we'll have to deal with the short-term heartbreak.

"We believe in his vision. Being successful isn't easy and we've learned that.

"It's uncomfortable at times and you need to challenge yourself.

"I truly believe that Dean and the rest of the coaches are the right people to make this club successful.

"From my point of view, I completely believe in what these guys are putting together.

"I don't think Worcester resembled a successful environment previously, hence why we've always been scrapping towards the lower end of the table.

"Change needs to happen. I think the Worcester team in two or three years is going to be a completely different animal.

"We can't afford to just keep ticking the same boxes."

COMMENT RULES: Comments that are judged to be defamatory, abusive or in bad taste are not acceptable and contributors who consistently fall below certain criteria will be permanently blacklisted. The moderator will not enter into debate with individual contributors and the moderator’s decision is final. It is Belfast Telegraph policy to close comments on court cases, tribunals and active legal investigations. We may also close comments on articles which are being targeted for abuse. Problems with commenting? customercare@belfasttelegraph.co.uk

Nightlife galleries

More

Latest Sport News

Stats Centre