Worcester Warriors full-back Chris Pennell will leave Sixways this summer after 14 years with the Premiership club.
A veteran of 253 Premiership matches for Warriors, Pennell is now ‘exploring other opportunities’ after being denied his farewell in front of a home crowd after this weekend’s clash with Gloucester was cancelled because of an outbreak in the opponents’ camp.
Pennell, on co-commentary duty for BT Sport for their Round 20 match against Leicester last month, represented Warriors across their recent history in the Premiership and Championship and earned a solitary England cap agains the All Blacks in 2014.
“I am incredibly proud of my time with the club. I feel very fortunate to have been doing what I have been doing with Worcester for so many years,” said Pennell, 34.
“It’s a really exciting time for the club with all the changes that have been made. I hope success will be just around the corner.
“The romantic in me thinks it would be nice to finish my playing career at Sixways,” he said. “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.”
“Pens is one of the club legends,” said Warriors director of rugby Alan Solomons. “To make 250 appearances for one club is an incredible achievement and speaks volumes about the man. He is one of a kind. We have been blessed to have him spend his entire career here.”
Warriors head coach Jonathan Thomas added: “I played with Pens when I first came here. He’s an awesome person, an awesome friend. Everyone knows what a loyal servant he has been over a long period of time and a consistent performer.
“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.”