And now the winger believes his England ambitions will be helped rather than hindered by playing in the Championship for Worcester.
Smith, 24, left Harlequins for Sixways in order to get more starts, and says Pennell’s debut for England in the summer proves that Championship players can dream big.
|Sam Smith takes the fight to Worcester last season.|
“Chris has pushed through that ceiling and I think that’s good for the game,” he tells me. “It means there’s going to be a lot more competition in this league.
“There are a lot of young talented English players in the Championship and Chris’s success is only going to be a good thing for the game.”
Smith believes Sixways is the place that will enable him to hone his skills and follow in the footsteps of dad Simon, who won nine caps for England in the 1980s.
“Every English player wants to play for England one day. I played with lots of internationals at Quins and have seen how good they are and I’ve got a way to go to improve, but that’s something I can achieve playing for Worcester.”
* A version of this article originally appeared in The Rugby Paper