England's Pennell desperate for chance to show off his skills in first Test

Malvern Gazette: CHRIS PENNELL: Named in England's match-day squad for the first Test in New Zealand. CHRIS PENNELL: Named in England's match-day squad for the first Test in New Zealand.

CHRIS Pennell can't wait to soak up the atmosphere at Eden Park when England tackle New Zealand in the first Test on Saturday.

The Worcester Warriors full-back has been named among the replacements for the game and will make his international debut if he comes on.

Worcester's vice-captain said: "I'm desperate to get out there at Eden Park, soak up the atmosphere and be a part of what promises to be a superb game at the top level of rugby.

"Hopefully, I'll get an opportunity to show what I can do. I don't think I'll face many tougher tests and I'm really looking forward to it.

"I've been making sure I get everything in place so I can perform as well as I possibly can should I come on.”

England head coach Stuart Lancaster named his side on Wednesday evening and Pennell admitted he was delighted when he discovered he was in the match-day squad.

The Worcester-born 27-year-old continued: "I had a fairly big smile on my face when the team was announced and I'm hugely appreciative to Stuart for giving me the opportunity.

"But I quickly came back down to earth and realised there's a game to be played. So I'm focused on the match and trying to take in as much information as I can.”

Warriors fans will be tuning in on Saturday to cheer on their hero when the match gets under way at 8.35am (BST).

Pennell was quick to pay tribute to them for their support after being one of the bright lights in a dismal season for Worcester that ended in relegation from the Aviva Premiership.

He added: "I've been inundated with messages from fans wishing me luck ahead of the game and I thank all of them for their support.

"I know there will be a lot of people back home watching the game on Saturday and cheering me on. That means everything to me.”

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