RETURNING wing Melani Nanai’s “biggest attribute is his brain” as he “sees things that a lot of guys don’t” in the heat of the battle.

That’s the view of full-back Chris Pennell who has been impressed by his team-mate’s ability to mastermind Worcester Warriors’ attack from the edge of the field.

After being rested during Warriors’ two-week European Challenge Cup block Nanai returns to the starting line-up for Friday's Gallagher Premiership showdown at local rivals Gloucester (7.45pm).

The marque signing who has started in all five of Warriors’ league matches has yet to score since his summer switch from Super Rugby club Blues.

But Pennell insists Nanai is playing an influential role within the team as the “very smart” Samoan often puts forward his plan of attack.

“Melani’s a big boy with unbelievable footwork but his biggest attribute is his brain,” Pennell said.

“He is a very smart rugby player.

“He has the ability to stand back, look at the entire picture and be able to say ‘Listen, there is some space here so if we do this we could create a two-on-one on the edge.

“You don’t often get that from guys on the edge of the pitch.

“That tends to come from the likes of Millsy (Ryan Mills) who is a very rugby smart guy that will be in the middle moving around and seeing things. For Melani to be able to add that from the edge is a big thing for us.”

Pennell, 32, is one of Warriors’ most experienced players having racked up 236 appearances for the club.

But he admits he is learning a lot from Nanai and hopes to continue to pick the 26-year-old’s brains.

“Melani seems to be really enjoying it,” Pennell said.

“It is different to what he has been used to back home but I have been really impressed with Melani in terms of his rugby knowledge which is right up there.

“He is a very smart player and sees things that a lot of guys don’t.

“I want to tap into his knowledge, his experiences from back home and the way he sees the game.

“It’s great for me to be able to learn from someone like that and it’s going to be really good for this team as well.

“He’s settling in really well, is a very nice guy which always helps and I can’t wait to see him fly for the rest of the season.”

Pennell will link up with Nanai and Perry Humphreys in the back three for the sixth time this term when fourth-placed Warriors visit Gloucester.

The trio have struggled to click at times, but Pennell believes they are gaining a greater understanding of each other with ever game.

“We are getting there,” Pennell said.

“The back three is such an intricate place as there are so many nuances. It’s been really nice to have a bit of a mix-up with some fresh guys in there adding some insight and different perspectives on things.

“I feel we are starting to gel and there is a lot of exciting things to come from this back three and the guys that are waiting in the wings too.”