11:20pm Wednesday 4th June 2014
By Tom Guest
CHRIS Pennell is poised to make his England debut in Saturday’s first Test against New Zealand at Eden Park (8.35am BST).
The Warriors full-back has been named on the bench by head coach Stuart Lancaster after impressing the England coaching staff since linking-up with the squad last month.
Pennell is one of two uncapped players in the matchday squad, alongside Harlequins hooker Joe Gray, who is also named on the bench.
Lancaster said: “It’s a fantastic opportunity for Chris and Joe, who have really impressed in training, should they come off the bench for their first caps.
“We’ve had a good week’s training in Auckland and have prepared well and are ready for the massive challenge ahead.
“It doesn’t get much bigger than playing New Zealand at Eden Park where they haven’t lost in 20 years, but those selected know what they have to do.
“We’ve had lots of messages of support and I am sure the players will be giving their all at the start of this three test series.”
Pennell’s Sixways director of rugby Dean Ryan added: “Chris has obviously impressed during his time in the England squad alongside the best players in the country and built on the outstanding form he has displayed over the last year.
“I am delighted to see him receive further recognition with a place in the matchday squad and am confident he will have a positive impact if he does make his debut on Saturday.”
England: Brown; Yarde, Tuilagi, Eastmond, May; Burns, Care; Marler, Webber, Wilson, Launchbury, Parling, Haskell, Robshaw, Morgan. Replacements: Gray, Mullan, Thomas, Attwood, Johnson, Youngs, Cipriani, Pennell.
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