HE may be plying his trade in the Greene King IPA Championship this season, but according to Worcester Warrior Chris Pennell his England dream remains very much alive.
Pennell was one of the success stories of last season in the Aviva Premiership, enjoying a memorable campaign, despite Worcester’s relegation, before also winning his first international cap for England in New Zealand in the summer.
Many predicted Pennell would move from Sixways in the summer, to keep his World Cup dream alive, but the 27-year-old has remained loyal to the Warriors, insisting he has unfinished business with Worcester this season.
The Championship is certain to be a fiercely-contested division once again, with the likes of Worcester and big-spending Bristol set to battle it out for promotion back to the Premiership.
Pennell is convinced he has made the right decision to stay at Worcester this season and is targeting another series of big performances to ensure England boss Stuart Lancaster continues to take notice.
“The strength of this division is such that I don’t think it’s going to make any difference in catching his eye,” he said.
“Ultimately it rests on me to keep performing but there are so many strong teams and players at this level that I will be tested.”
Being part of England’s Test team in New Zealand is a memory Pennell won’t forget in a hurry – training and playing alongside the country’s best players was an experience he wants to repeat again and again.
With England playing four Tests in the autumn, followed quickly by the Six Nations and then a home World Cup, Pennell admits now is the time to ensure his performances remain consistent.
Formed in 2009, the Greene King IPA Championship is the second tier of professional rugby union in England. To keep up-to-date with all the latest news, follow @ChampRugby on Twitter, or visit www.rfu.com/championship