Chris Pennell's 14-year Worcester stint is over
Veteran Chris Pennell has announced he is leaving Worcester this summer following a 14-year stint at the club which began with a 2007 Premiership debut against Bath. The 34-year-old, who was capped by England on their 2014 tour to New Zealand, had hoped to say farewell at Sixways with a final appearance this Saturday but their last game of the season was cancelled due to a virus outbreak affecting the visiting Gloucester.
The cancellation leaves Pennell bowing out with 426 points in his 253 games for Worcester, including 43 tries, but he is now hoping to continue his career elsewhere. “I’m incredibly proud of my time with the club and I feel very fortunate to have been doing what I have been doing with Worcester for so many years,” he said.
“It’s a really exciting time for the club with all the changes that have been made and I hope the success we all desire will be just around the corner. It will be nice to watch that success off the field and try to return some of the incredible support that I have had over my playing career and give it to the people that will be taking the club forward now.
“The owners have been really supportive and have told me there will always be a place for me here where I can add value so watch this space. The romantic in me thinks it would be nice to finish my playing career at Sixways but it’s also exciting for me to explore other opportunities. It has been a good number of years since there was any consideration of playing for another team and with my body but, more importantly, my head in a really good place, now is the time to move on.
“It’s an exciting time for Worcester but I am also looking forward to some new challenges and experiences as well. I genuinely feel really humbled by the amount of support that I personally have had over the years. There are a number of supporters I have got to know well and also many of our sponsors, particularly through the testimonial season.
— Worcester Warriors (@WorcsWarriors) June 10, 2021
“I have been really fortunate to have conversations and see first-hand the amount of passion within our community that has always matched my own and sometimes even exceeded. The level of support at Worcester is phenomenal and there are so many memories that I have over the years of the atmosphere they have created and some of those tight games that we have won are solely down to them. I’m so grateful to the support I have been given – those people in the stands and those I bump into in the city who wish you well – which has made my memories of Worcester so special.”
Pennell chose the 2015 promotion win over Bristol as his favourite Worcester match. “The obvious highlight is the Bristol promotion match but in amongst that you have got Bristol at home a couple of seasons ago when we won by 50, Exeter away when we won 6-5 and earlier on in my career some of the European trips when we got to the knockout stages stand out,” he said.
“There are almost too many to recount them all. It’s not just the matches at weekends, it’s everything that goes into it and the time you spend with people, be it players, staff, commercial team and the foundation. Everyone is working hard to make the club a success. Although my playing career is moving away, Worcester is still my home and I will maintain many of those friendships for life.”
Worcester head coach Jonathan Thomas added: “I have no doubt that he will be a success in whatever he does because he is a class act as a bloke and the way he carries himself. I am sad it’s the end of an era because he is a special man. The club will not feel the same without him around as a player because it feels like he has been Worcester.”
"There are 20 players leaving the club at the end of the season… that has certainly been really tough, some tough conversations"@JonThom82 on the work behind the scenes & the hard calls needed as they rebuild @WorcsWarriors squad, writes @heagneyl ???https://t.co/gjCIa18pmc
— RugbyPass (@RugbyPass) May 9, 2021
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