Worcester Warriors were promoted to the Premiership following a hugely dramatic victory in the second leg of their Green King IPA Championship final against Bristol. View full highlights below, with press conference chats on page two.
Worcester Warriors’ Pennell insists that while he was the one to dot down the winning try against Bristol, it was a complete team effort that got his side over the line in a thrilling Greene King IPA Championship play-off final.
The 28-year-old’s score as the clock ticked into the red gave Ryan Lamb the opportunity to send the Warriors into the Premiership in front of a packed Sixways on Wednesday, his conversion taking the scoreline to 30-30 (59-58 on aggregate) and edging the two-leg tie in Worcester’s favour.
It completed an astonishing turnaround in the last five minutes of the breathless encounter, Bristol letting a 14-point advantage slip thanks to a penalty try and yellow cards for Jack Lam and Dwayne Peel.
And despite Pennell taking the plaudits with two tries on the night, the England international believes his teammates’ discipline at the death was the decisive factor.
“There are so many things that happened in that game to get us to that position, and credit to all the boys who stuck to their jobs when the pressure was on, worked hard and got us over the line,” he said.
“I do remember the final try and I was just trying to get it as close to the sticks as possible to give Lamby [Ryan Lamb] the best possible chance, and credit to him for stepping up and knocking it through – it shows that character he has.”
Amongst the scenes of Warriors jubilation at the final whistle, an exhausted Dean Ryan cut a solitary figure on the pitch as he took a few reflective moments to himself.
And the stunned director of rugby is adamant that while his side may not have been the strongest on the night, their resilient victory proves his philosophy at Worcester is working.
Ryan said: “I’m the same as everybody else who watched that game I think; I’m shocked as I didn’t really see that ending coming.
“The players all feel elated of course, but when you’ve been sat for 80 minutes watching a game like that, it almost feels like you’ve been in some kind of car accident. Sport is cruel and I really do feel for every one of those Bristol players.
“That’s happened to me before when I’ve been on the better side and I thought Bristol were the best side in this game.”
Formed in 2009, the Greene King IPA Championship is the second tier of professional rugby union in England. To keep up-to-date with all the latest news follow @ChampRugby on Twitter, or visit www.rfu.com/championship