Worcester Warriors are today delighted to announce that lock Graham Kitchener has committed his future to the club by signing a new two-year contract extension.
Kitchener, who can play either lock or flanker, was already on an Academy deal for next season but has now been rewarded for the eye-catching progress he has made at Sixways Stadium with a two-year senior deal that will secure his services until 2011.
The 19-year-old, from Bromley, has featured for Warriors in three separate competitions this year - the Guinness Premiership, European Challenge Cup and EDF Energy Cup.
England Under-20 international Kitchener has made a total of 13 appearances for Warriors this season and grabbed first team tries against Petrarca Rugby and London Irish.
"We are delighted to announce a contract extension for Graham Kitchener," said Director of Rugby Mike Ruddock.
"Graham has made big strides this season. It's been his first season as a full-time professional and so he has made significant gains in both his strength and overall conditioning.
"He has also featured on a number of occasions for the first team and he has also sneaked a couple of tries which suitably highlights his all-round ability.
"Graham has also featured for England Under-20s this season and is in their squad for the World Cup this summer.
"I believe he has the capabilities to go on and play for England at senior level and that's why I'm delighted that he has decided to stay on and extend his deal. I'm sure the Warriors fans will also be very pleased that he has made this commitment."
Kitchener admitted he was pleased to put pen to paper on the new deal at Sixways Stadium and looked forward to continuing to develop his game at Warriors.
"I have really enjoyed my time at Warriors, working through the fantastic Academy system we have here and now with the first team squad," he said.
"I feel my game has improved from working with the coaching staff here and by being surrounded by professional players with a vast amount of experience whose knowledge has been invaluable.
"This season I have been given opportunities in the first team to show I am capable of and hopefully, now I have signed this contract extension, I can continue with my development and improvement as a player for Warriors."
Warriors youngsters Huw Taylor and Jack Singleton will start for England in the World Rugby Under 20 Championship final against Ireland this Saturday night at Sale Sharks' AJ Bell Stadium (kick-off 7pm).
Worcester Warriors Chief Executive Jim O'Toole has dismissed suggestions made in a national newspaper that the Club is pulling back on its long-term financial commitment to become an established Aviva Premiership Club.