Pennell starring role delights coach

Richard Hill praised Andy Goode and Chris Pennell as they star back duo played key roles in the 28-12 British & Irish Cup victory over Cornish Pirates at wet Sixways.

Pennell celebrated leading the team out for the first time by producing an accomplished show and capping a fine backs move a first half try.

Goode scored an opportunistic opening try as he caught retreating Pirates napping and Hill was also pleased to report his playmaker had escaped serious injury after a late tackle in the second half.

“Chris Pennell’s try was a training ground move with a set play off the lineout, there was some exceptionally good hands from the three-quarters to get the ball away,” said Hill.

“It was the best thing that could happen for Chris to get that score. I am delighted for him, it was his first game back as captain and it was a good win under the belt.

“Goodey has got a good eye for that kind of opening try – he always looks to see if people turn their back,” added Hill.

“He is very intelligent player and very experienced. It is a little bit of a risk, he has done that in the past and not quite made it, but on that occasion we were very pleased to see him cross the line. It gave us a timely lift.

“Andy was tackled late in the second half and we were not happy with it. It could have been a lot worse for him, but there is no lasting damage.”

Hill will now turn his attention to the last eight next week and a home game with Moseley that he admitted would give him some interesting selection thoughts.

He said: “I haven’t looked at selection too much as we still had some work to do. But we will go as strong as we can possibly can.

“The likes of Chris Pennell need to keep playing and also Matt Mullan. The bench lads like Joe Carlisle and Ollie Frost.

“We will put a very strong side out, we will keep back some of the players who have had a lot of rugby.

“We want to progress to the semi-final. Of course promotion is the key thing, but it will be a sensible selection with people like Chris Pennell needing games.

“If we are going to get him right back to his top form, and I thought he played very well against Pirates, the more he plays the better.”