HOMEGROWN hero Chris Pennell believes second-from-bottom Worcester Warriors have created a “platform to kick on” despite losing 33-30 to leaders Exeter Chiefs at Sixways.

The full-back said his side were “very low on confidence” last weekend when they slumped to a demoralising 17-6 defeat at basement side Newcastle Falcons.

But he felt they had regained “a bit of belief” after coming back from 17-6 behind at half-time to claim two bonus points in their battle to stay in the Gallagher Premiership.

Pennell who was celebrating his testimonial day got the all-important fourth try on his 150th top-flight appearance, breaking Craig Gillies’ club record..

“We were so disappointed after the Newcastle defeat and wanted to put in a performance for ourselves but also show the supporters how much this means to us,” Pennell said.

“For whatever reason we were very low on confidence last weekend and this weekend I wanted the guys to go out and show what they can do.

“We have now got a platform to kick on and that was the most important thing to do regardless of the result.”

Pennell was unhappy to concede five tries but was “incredibly proud” of his team-mates for the character they displayed.

“I thought the boys were outstanding throughout the 80 minutes,” said the 31-year-old.

“The guys were putting their bodies on the line and you saw that with the amount of dominant hits that we made, particularly in that first half when we were up against it.

“Exeter are top of the league for a reason. They are unbelievably clinical.

“To be fair we only gave them a few chances and they took every single one of them.

“That is the level we are playing at but to come back into the game the way we did and to play with the confidence that we did will go a long way for the rest of this season.

“We needed to get a bit of belief back after last weekend and I felt like we did that.”

Just three points separate Warriors and Falcons who beat Wasps 20-19 at The Ricoh Arena ahead the final six games of the season.

Warriors return to league action on Saturday, March 23 with a trip to Bristol Bears (3pm).

“In the position we are in at the minute we have just got to get as many points as we possibly can,” Pennell said.

“We are disappointed as we could have got three more, but if we focus too much on the outcome we will lose our way.

“The most heartening thing was the performance that the boys put in and I am incredibly proud of each and every single one of them.”

Pennell thanked his testimonial committee for their efforts on the day and admitted he shed a tear moments before leading the side out with his two young children.

“It was a really special moment,” Pennell added.

“I was more emotional when I came off after the warm-up as I saw my little boy waiting for me in the background and I had to disappear off into the changing room.

“I got quite teary then but by the time it came to walking onto the pitch Millsy (Ryan Mills) and the guys had everyone up and ready to go.

“It was a really nice moment having my kids there. I will definitely remember that for a long time.”