FRUSTRATED full back Ben Howard believes he is making a strong bid to take Chris Pennell’s place in Worcester Warriors’ starting line-up.
Pennell has been one of the club’s most consistent performers in recent years and has started in Warriors’ opening four Aviva Premiership games.
But Howard, who agreed a contract extension in September, feels he’s putting together a case to snatch the number 15 jersey from the England international.
The 22-year-old capped off a tireless display with a late try in Warriors’ 19-3 victory over La Rochelle in the European Challenge Cup and he now believes he is ready to make his mark in the Aviva Premiership.
“You have got to have confidence in your own ability and I am very confident within the squad now,” he said.
“When you are coming through the academy you sometimes have those moments when you play in a game and feel like a bit of outsider.
“But now I feel very much part of the squad and I feel that if I was needed for a Premiership game I would be comfortable to deal with it.
“I have got Chris (Pennell) ahead of me and we know what a great player he is.
“I have been used to that for a few years now, so it is just a case of me continuing to develop and continuing to try and push my way into a starting space.”
Although admitting last Saturday’s clash at Sixways was not easy on the eye, Howard said it was a great opportunity for fringe players to press their case.
“There were a lot of frustrated guys in that team,” he said. “I have been lucky enough to be on the bench a few times, but there were guys out there that haven’t even had that, which is very tough.
“Everyone out there was trying to show what they could do for Dean (Ryan) and hopefully I have managed to do that.”
Warriors’ trip to Italy to face Zebre on Saturday is another chance for Howard to shine and he said he was looking forward to the challenge.
“Any game away from home is tough,” Howard added. “You have got to factor in the travel and being in unfamiliar circumstances.
“But we are all champing at the bit to get into that squad, so we will be going out there again and giving it 100 per cent.”