Kitchener thrilled by home England win

Warriors lock Graham Kitchener thrived on his delayed first appearance in a white shirt in front of his home crowd as England Saxons overwhelmed Italy A at Worcester.

Kitchener grew up in the same age group sides as senior England stars Ben Youngs and Courtney Lawes and current Saxons teammates Joe Marler and James Gaskell.

Together they faced Italy at the same Sixways venue two years ago only for the game to be played in eerie silence behind closed doors because of freezing conditions in the West Midlands.

The 21 year-old lock got a second chance for the Saxons in yesterday’s 45-17 victory, impressing with his all-round game and deft handling, and setting up Gaskell for the second of the side’s seven tries.

James Simpson-Daniel touched down twice with Ugo Monye, Mike Brown, Manu Tuilagi and Paul Hodgson also scoring. Stephen Myler added five conversions.

“Today was very enjoyable,” said Kitchener, who played in all three Saxons games in last summer’s Churchill Cup and is thriving in the Championship with Worcester this season.

“It’s always great to pull on an England shirt and it’s an added bonus to be able to do so in front of your own fans on your home ground. The support the crowd gave me and the team was great.

“I’m really enjoying it at the moment. There’s been a few injuries around in the second row and it was nice to get the chance and an opportunity to put my name forward for a place in the Churchill Cup squad in the summer.”

Dropping down a division has also given him more time to expand his abilities, as he demonstrated with the flat pass off his weaker left hand that put Gaskell away.

“In the Aviva Premiership last season sometimes it felt like you were defending 80 per cent of the time and when we got the ball it had to be pretty much Route One,” he said. “This year has given me the chance to get my hands on the ball more and develop some of my skills.”