CHRIS Pennell has been named in the England training squad ahead of next month’s tour of New Zealand and the match against the Barbarians at Twickenham Stadium on Sunday, June 1.
Warriors’ vice-captain, who will report for training at the Lensbury Club in Teddington this Sunday, forms part of England’s 20-man squad comprising players from the six Aviva Premiership clubs who have finished their seasons.
England head coach Stuart Lancaster said: “The New Zealand tour and the game against the Barbarians give us a chance to look at a wide group of players, some of whom are well known to us from the Elite Player Squad, others who we will get to work with for the first time next week.
“That is an exciting challenge for us coaches and it’s a great opportunity for those players to put a marker down for selection for the tour and the Barbarians game.”
Pennell was Warriors’ stand-out player throughout the 2013/14 campaign and played every minute of every Aviva Premiership match.
He signed a new three-year contract last December and has also been nominated for the Aviva Premiership player-of-the-season award.
Pennell said: “I am delighted to be part of the training squad and I will be working hard to show what I can do over the next couple of weeks.
“I’ve been working closely with the coaching staff at Warriors and I feel I have improved as a player over the last year, so I’m excited about the future.” The final squads for the New Zealand tour and the Barbarians match, which will include players from the six Aviva Premiership clubs who are yet to finish their seasons, will be announced at 12pm on Monday, May 26.
The first group of players will fly to New Zealand on May 27 (arriving May 29). The second group will fly on June 2 following the Aviva Premiership final and Barbarians game, joining the squad in Auckland on June 4.
Pennell will go head-to-head with Dean Ryan if selected for the clash against the Barbarians. The Warriors director of rugby has been named coach of England’s opponents for the Twickenham encounter.
England training squad: Brookes (Newcastle Falcons), Burns (Gloucester), Cipriani (Sale Sharks), Cowan-Dickie, Ewers, Hill, Johnson (all Exeter Chiefs), Kvesic, May, Morgan (all Gloucester), Paterson (Sale Sharks), Pennell (Worcester Warriors), Robson, Sharples (both Gloucester), Slade (Exeter Chiefs), Taylor, Thomas (both Sale Sharks), Trinder, Twelvetrees (both Gloucester), Yarde (London Irish).