Aviva Premiership
Warriors here to stay - Pennell
ESPNscrum Staff
August 27, 2011
Worcester boss Richard Hill and captain Chris Pennell pose with the Premiership silverware, Aviva Premiership season launch, Twickenham, England, August 24, 2011
Warriors boss Richard Hill and captain Chris Pennell pose with the Premiership silverware © Getty Images

Skipper Chris Pennell believes newly-promoted Worcester can cement their place in the Aviva Premiership.

The Warriors were relegated from English rugby's to flight at the end of the 2009-10 season before bouncing back at the first attempt and Pennell is now determined to follow the lead of the likes of Harlequins and Northampton who suffered a similar fate before emerging as Premiership powerhouses.

"Quins and Saints handled their relegations really well and they are the prime examples we want to try and follow," he told Press Association Sport. "Relegation seems like a huge step back when it happens but sometimes you need to take that step backward in order to move forward again.

"We went away and looked at the areas where we want wrong and we worked hard to correct them. That hard work meant we were able to win again and get that winning mentality. People may say that we were only winning games in the Championship, but it is a tough league and once you get on a winning run it can be hard to stop. We hope that will be the case this season.

"If you look at Saints they quickly re-established themselves as a Premiership side and are now regularly challenging for honours both at home and abroad, while Quins won the Amlin Challenge Cup last season. We definitely want to try and do what those clubs have done, although we will try and do it in our own way."

Fullback Pennell, 24, took over the captaincy from the now-retired Pat Sanderson at the start of last season and retains leadership duties this term, and he admits it is a big honour to lead his local club back into the Premiership.

"It is a huge honour for me," he said. "I am extremely privileged and as a local lad it will be very special. Hopefully this will be a big season for the club and we want to repay the faith of our loyal supporters who have stuck with us."

Hill had brought in a number of new recruits ahead of the new campaign, with the arrival of former England internationals Chris Jones and Shaun Perry, from Sale and Brive respectively, among the most notable. But there has also been a major addition made to the coaching staff with the arrival of former England defence coach Phil Larder.

The uncompromising Lancastrian helped the red rose on their way to World Cup glory in 2003 and will be looking to add a tough edge to the Warriors. And Pennell says the 66-year-old is already having a big impact at Sixways ahead of next weekend's season opener against Sale.

"The impact that he has had has been fantastic. We have only had a few sessions with him but the way he is changing our attitude towards defence is huge. He has been a superb addition to our set-up and it is exciting to think where his expertise might be able to take us."

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

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