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‘Helpful and willing’ – Warriors head coach Hogg hails Community Player of the Season winner Chris Pennell

Worcester Warriors  head coach Carl Hogg has hailed the impact of full-back Chris Pennell off the field at Sixways this season after the England international landed a prestigious gong at this week’s Aviva Premiership Rugby Awards.

Pennell scooped the Aviva Premiership Rugby Community Player of the Season award at a glittering ceremony at the Lancaster London Hotel.

Pennell was honoured for his work with the Worcester Community Foundation, where over the last three years, he has contributed to Warriors’ HITZ programme, SIFA Fireside, Alternative Provision School, Diabetes UK, The Aspire Academy and Birmingham Children’s Hospital.

Pennell has long been a standout performer for Worcester in both the Premiership and Championship – but Hogg was thrilled the Warriors’ flyers unseen charity work was now also being acknowledged.

“The players are the role models within the club, but they are also flag-bearers, and someone like Chris, who has come through the system and played for England, is very special,” said Hogg, who collected the award on behalf of Pennell.

“He’s clearly got aspirations to play more games for England in the future, and if he is able to do that wearing a Worcester Warriors jersey, then it is a great advert for us as a club.

Worcester Warriors head coach Carl Hogg collected Chris Pennell’s Aviva Premiership Rugby Community Player of the Season award

“At Worcester Warriors, we put a huge amount into our community foundation, and we have all aspects covered.

“From working with the homeless to the HITZ scheme, helping out 16 to 18-year-olds who may have lost a little bit of direction in life.

“Chris has been involved across the board, and being diabetic, he has done a lot of work for diabetes UK, so he covers a huge spectrum.

“But that’s the nature of Chris; he’s always helpful and willing and he wants to give something back to the game and back to the community.”

The England international was up against Bath’s Semesa Rokoduguni, Saracens’ Chris Ashton, Newcastle Falcons’ Nili Latu and Bristol’s Nick Koster.

The award celebrates players who go the extra mile to make a difference in their local community through charity work, to emphasise how much Premiership rugby clubs contribute to the community in their own time.

The judging panel for the award included Rebekah Wallis, Ricoh’s people and corporate responsibility board director, Kenny Brown, Premiership Rugby’s PLAY development manager, and Debbie Bullock, Aviva UK’s community investment manager.

And Hogg believes contributing to the community away from the Premiership and creating a loyal fan base can only help side continue to develop as a team.

“Everybody knows the Aviva Premiership is super competitive, whether you’re going for the top four or the top six, or stuck down at the bottom,” said the Worcester chief.

“We had a tough start to the season with a few injuries, but we got ourselves some momentum at the end of the season and we’re looking to build on that.

“I think we had a lot of young players that were introduced earlier than we first anticipated, but they went well and will be the future of the club.”

Tickets to the Aviva Premiership Rugby Final on 27 May at Twickenham are now on sale. If you want to have an unforgettable day out at club rugby’s best Cup Final, then click here for tickets.

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