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Pennell feels Warriors can beat the drop
10:40am Friday 6th December 2013 in Sport
LOYAL Warrior Chris Pennell has spoken of his confidence that Worcester can escape Aviva Premiership relegation this season.
Thoroughly impressive in everything he does — both on and off the field — the on-song full-back is seen as the poster boy of the Dean Ryan era.
Persuading the former club captain, who was still under contract for next season, to commit his future to the club until 2017 was a masterstroke by the new Worcester director of rugby.
If Pennell’s Sixways team-mates could mirror his approach to the game and his performances this term, Ryan’s side would have no relegation worries.
However, that has not been the case so far, yet Pennell remains certain the team are close to turning the corner and insists he never thought about looking elsewhere.
“I was contracted for next season anyway and I am a man of my word, so that was never an option,” he explained.
“I’ve always been firmly focused on doing my job that I am professionally contracted to do for Worcester.
“The opportunity to extend my deal was something that I felt strongly about, because I really believe in the direction that we are going, so I wasn’t thinking about moving elsewhere.
“I truly believe we have the right guys in charge and, with time, things will turn around and improve.
“There is a long way to go in this season and I am very confident we can get ourselves out of the hole we’ve dug.
“Once we’ve done that, then over the next two or three years, Dean can really have the influence that I know he will have.
“That’s where the really exciting stuff is going to happen and that’s why I extended my deal as I want to be a part of it.”
While there has been much speculation that, if he was playing for a top-six side, Pennell would now be firmly on Stuart Lancaster’s England radar, the player himself is adamant he can achieve his international goals at Sixways.
He added: “I’ve not had any communication from the England set-up so, without wanting to assume anything, if I had been told I had to move or I wouldn’t get picked, then maybe that would have been a different conversation.
“However, that has never happened, so it wasn’t an issue and I’ve always been confident that if I am doing the business here week in, week out, eventually that will spark the right conversations elsewhere.
“Hopefully, the England selectors will take note. If you look at Matt Mullan, Matt Kvesic and Miles Benjamin, they are all players who’ve done well at Worcester and broken into the England set-up.
“So, there’s no reason that couldn’t be me too as long as I keep striving to improve and making sure my performances are better than the other 15s each week.
“I truly believe that if you are good enough, you will make it. Looking at the England EPS squad, a huge proportion of it is made up of players from top-six sides, but there is that 10 per cent that aren’t, so if they can do it, it is because they are good enough, so why not someone at one of the sides in the bottom half?”
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