Worcester Warriors Chris Pennell’s insight into rugby life in lockdown

WORCESTER Warriors rugby star and Wooden Spoon Worcestershire Ambassador, Chris Pennell spoke to Wooden Spoon about what life has been like for a professional rugby player in the COVID-19 pandemic and his plans for the game to return.

“The moment every Premiership rugby player has been waiting for has now arrived, we have a date that we tentatively aim to return to play. Psychologically, this is a big step.

‘Normally’, in sport and indeed life, we can set our sights on achieving goals within a time frame or aim to peak at a certain time. These last few months for everyone have been understandably frustrating due to the lack of this end date, when can we get back to doing the things we all previously took for granted? Although we’re still potentially far from it in reality, the signs are there that we are slowly making our way out.

A time to reflect and reconnect 

With everything that’s been going on in the world it’s fair to say that peoples’ priorities have been given a seismic jolt. It could be argued that this time is exactly what a lot of us needed? To reconnect with our immediate family. To realise how much we miss the relatives we haven’t been able to spend time with. How important our friendships are, but also the time to reflect on our own behaviours and our conduct gong forward.

It’s fair to say that Premiership Rugby is in a strange place and by the time you read this, with the fast shifting landscape, things will have changed and moved on. I remain hopeful the game will emerge stronger and we can all get back to something that ultimately adds excitement and entertainment to the lives of rugby supporters.

Wooden Spoon Worcestershire Ambassador, Chris Pennell at the opening of the Interactive Roadway at Blackmarston School.

Adapting to lockdown life

As a player times are pretty uncertain, as they are with everyone I hear you say, but a positive distraction is the return to Sixways to begin training again. From a strength and conditioning perspective, we have been kept busy during lockdown with weekly programs for running, weights and pilates, so the guys have stayed in good shape.

Whilst I have really enjoyed pacing out my markers and running next to the river most mornings, without the weights room or indeed the company of the boys around you working hard, it’s not always been easy to make strides forward.

The enforced rest has done me the world of good and probably prolonged my career but wow, sitting and typing now, I’m pretty sore after squatting for the first time in a while… I’m sure many of you can relate to this.

Looking to the future

So as things move on and plans are made across the country, rugby has commenced its recovery process. The players are working hard behind the scenes to make sure that when we do get the green light to play again, we’re ready and hope to provide people with some expansive, high tempo running rugby, hopefully with lots of points for the Warriors and very slightly less for the opposition. We do like to keep things close, just to keep you all on your toes.

The steps ahead are going to be relatively slow which I’m happy about from a health perspective and also for injury prevention.

I wish you all the same in your paths towards getting back to our new normal and who knows, like rugby in the summer, potentially a brighter future.”


There are lots of ways you can help Wooden Spoon support more vulnerable families during these challenging times.  You can donate, join our membership scheme or take part in a virtual challenge