Graham Kitchener insists there is no chance of England Saxons taking their eye off the ball in the build-up to Saturday’s Churchill Cup final against Canada.
The 21-year-old lock will be making his final appearance at Sixways as a Worcester Warriors player before joining Leicester Tigers this summer.
He starts alongside Mouritz Botha (Saracens) in the second row as the Saxons defend their title following impressive wins against the USA (87-8) and Tonga (41-14).
The match is a replay of last summer's final in Harrison, New Jersey, won 38-18 by the Saxons thanks to tries from Alex Goode (Saracens), Jon Clarke (Northampton Saints), Nick Abendanon (Bath Rugby) and Luke Narraway (Gloucester Rugby). Kitchener and Goode are the only survivors from the squad that day on duty at Worcester.
Since then Canada – ranked No.15 in the world – have continued improving, outplaying Italy A (26-12) and Russia (34-18) to reach this year's final and won't be underestimated.
“There's no chance of us relaxing at all,” said Kitchener, who takes over from the injured David Attwood.
“We've reviewed each game, this weekend is a new one and you're only as good as your next game. We've seen Canada play pretty well and to beat Italy A in the way they did that means we won't take them for granted.
“It's been a very positive tournament for us. We came into it not knowing what to expect from the two teams in our group – especially Tonga – but we've beaten them well and as a squad despite the short amount of time together we've bonded together and gelled pretty well.
“It's bad luck for David Attwood to be injured but I need to take my opportunities and I'm excited and ready to play. I've been on the bench and now I want to be on the pitch and playing, especially at Worcester.
“It'll be good to go back there, get a start and win the Churchill Cup. I'd like to think that I'd get a warm welcome.
“Sixways has been a special place for me for the last three years. I'm really looking forward to being back and I hope people are looking forward to seeing me.”
Tickets are still on sale for the Churchill Cup Finals Day at Sixways. Call the Warriors Box Office on 01905 454183 or click HERE for more information.
For more information and to purchase tickets, visit www.churchillcuprugby.net