Nottingham v Worcester: Chris Pennell back for Warriors

Worcester full-back Chris Pennell helped England Saxons to an 18-9 win over Ireland Wolfhounds at Cork
Chris Pennell (right) was man of the match as England Saxons beat Ireland Wolfhounds 18-9 in Cork

England full-back Chris Pennell returns for Worcester at Nottingham on Sunday as the Championship leaders bid to maintain their 19-match winning streak.

Pennell was absent on England Saxons duty in Ireland as the Warriors won 25-5 against Doncaster last Saturday to return to the top of the table.

They kept top spot as fellow title challengers Bristol lost 45-38 at Cornish Pirates the following day.

Bristol are now back on top after a 25-17 win at London Scottish on Saturday.

But a 20th straight Worcester win at Nottingham would be enough to put Dean Ryan's Warriors back on top again.

Warriors' debut at the Lady Bay Sports Ground
Worcester make their first visit to Lady Bay, having played all their most recent fixtures at Meadow Lane, including this season's 26-19 win in the British & Irish Cup. The rugby club still have an affiliation with Notts County, who are co-owners of the Lady Bay Sports Ground with Nottinghamshire CCC and Nottingham-based pharmaceutical company Boots.

It will be the Warriors' second visit of the season to Nottingham, having already won at Meadow Lane in the British & Irish Cup - but their first to this new home, at Lady Bay.

As well as the return of Pennell, the Saxons' man of the match, Worcester boss Dean Ryan makes four more changes, two of them at half-back.

Ryan Mills replaces Ryan Lamb at stand-off, while Charlie Mulchrone comes in for Jonny Arr at scrum-half. Niall Annett and Joe Rees replace Agustin Creevy and Nick Schonert in the front row, while Ben Howard shifts to the wing to accommodate Pennell at full-back.

Nottingham hand a full debut to centre Nick Carpenter, who has arrived on a dual registration with Bristol.

Worcester director of rugby Dean Ryan:

"I've not actually been to Nottingham's new ground but we've got to be in the right place mentally to make sure we take the same approach we did at Moseley. Sometimes playing at different kinds of grounds can catch you out in terms of your mental approach.

"If we reference Yorkshire - that was a time when we didn't get it right so we've been working on that specifically this week.

"The core of the squad is there or thereabouts now but it's still about moving some people around and getting some fresh ones in and seeing more of what they can do."

Nottingham: Robinson; Hough, Carpenter, Pohe, Iongi; Maisey, Romans; Ma'afu, Malton, Holford, Freeman, Cooper, Wilson (capt), Everard, Calladine.

Replacements: Vickers, Carey, Brownlie, Laxton, Smit, Lynn, Styles.

Worcester Warriors: Pennell; Howard, Stelling, Symons, Biggs; Mills, Mulchrone; Bower, Annett, Rees, Williams, Thomas, Senatore, Betty, van Velze (capt).

Replacements: Creevy, Rapava Ruskin, Daniels, O'Shea, Arr, Mieres, Fatiaki.

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