Kitchener enjoying Sixways return

Warriors lock Graham Kitchener is enjoying being back in familiar surroundings albeit with some unfamiliar faces following his return to Sixways.

Kitchener began his rugby career in the Sixways Academy and made 61 first team appearances for Warriors before he joined Leicester Tigers in 2011.

The 29-year-old from Shropshire re-joined Warriors at the end of last season and has spent the first month of pre-season training settling back in at Sixways.

Only three players – Chris Pennell, Matt Cox and Callum Black – remain from Kitchener’s first spell with Warriors although his younger brother, Andrew, is now part of the first team squad.

“There are a few familiar faces and the surroundings in general have been very familiar so it’s been nice to be back,” Kitchener said.

“Other than Penns, Coxy and Callum it’s a different squad. Obviously my brother is here but apart from that it’s been a case of getting to get to know new people but they are a good set of boys.

“Training has been very different but a good challenge and I’ve been really enjoying it.

“The sessions have been tough but that is what you expect in pre-season and the boys have been going well.”

Kitchener faced his younger brother once when Warriors defeated Leicester in the Premiership Rugby Cup last November.

They admitted then that it was a strange experience but they have quickly got used to being team-mates for the first time.

“I did think it would be strange but we have just kind of got on with it and it’s been nice seeing him every day and training with him,” Kitchener said.

“Obviously it’s been a bit different for us but so far we have coped all right.”

Andrew Kitchener has just joined Warriors’ senior squad having graduated from the Three Pears Warriors Academy and he also graduated from Birmingham University recently with a first-class degree in economics.

Graham was there when Andrew was presented with his degree earlier this month and shares his family’s pride in his little brother’s achievement.

“I know what an effort it is just to get a degree done but to get a first in economics is remarkable,” Kitchener said.

“He’s an intelligent lad but he’s still got to put the work in. He’s worked really hard to be fair to him. I’ve seen the graft he has put in and for him to come out with a first is testament to the hard work he has put in over the last four years.

“The graduation ceremony was a special day. It was nice to be there to see him go up.

“Hopefully this will set him up for the future but he has got a great future in rugby as well.”