WORCESTER Warriors have bucked the trend of their bright young things opting to pursue a career away from Sixways with the news highly-rated winger Ben Howard has signed a new deal with the club.
The England under 20 international, who has scored five tries in seven games since breaking into the first XV, is believed to have agreed terms for a one-year extension to his current contract.
The 20-year-old, who can play at full-back or wing, made his Aviva Premiership debut against Leicester Tigers at Welford Road in September.
Howard, who is 6ft 5ins tall and weighs 14st 13lb, has also shone in the Amlin Challenge Cup and LV= Cup, scoring two tries on his first senior start against Bizkaia Gernika and then following that up with a superb solo effort against the Spanish side at Sixways.
The former Warwick School student, who has represented Warwickshire under 16s and 18s, is set to feature for England Under 20s against their French counterparts at Sixways on Saturday.
Worcester head coach Richard Hill said: “Ben has been a real star find for us this year. He has made an impression every time he has played for the Warriors.
“He very rarely makes a mistake for someone still so young and he will produce something spectacular every game.
“Ben has a good skill-set and is very safe under the high ball. Whether he is playing at wing or full-back, he has genuine pace and has great counter-attacking potential.
“He is a tall young man and his aim over the coming years will be developing his frame and becoming very strong.”
Meanwhile, full-back Chris Pennell has recovered from the knee problem that has kept him out of the last two matches and will return to the 23-man squad that travels to Gloucester on Friday night (7.45pm).
Tighthead prop Euan Murray, who does not play matches on Sundays for religious reasons, is not being considered for Scotland’s Six Nations match against Ireland, but will be available for Warriors.
Number eight Blair Cowan, who has only played 21 minutes of Premiership rugby this season, is also set to come in from the cold at Kingsholm.
Hill added: “I will be making one or two changes — there are some good players who are keen to come in and prove a point. You have got to keep changing things around when you’re not winning to try and find the right combination.
“Blair could be one to get a chance on Friday and I’ve not forgotten him at all.”