Leicester Tigers star Graham Kitchener agrees new deal
Second-row forward Graham Kitchener has committed his future to Leicester Tigers by agreeing a new contract with the club.
The 23-year-old arrived at Welford Road in the summer of 2011 and has made a big impact.
He came to the fore across the Midlands with Worcester Warriors, where he made 70 appearances.
Kitchener has now enjoyed 25 first-team outings for Tigers, including 11 starts – currently the highest number in the Leicester squad.
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His latest appearance came in Saturday's 17-12 Aviva Premiership win over Bath.
Plenty more are on the cards after agreeing the new deal at Tigers, where there is tremendous competition for places in the second-row.
Louis Deacon, Geoff Parling, Ed Slater and Rob Andrew all feature at lock.
Steve Mafi can also play in that role, while young Joe Cain has made his senior debut for the club in the second-row this season.
Kitchener's qualities have helped to earn him a place in the England Saxons' squad.
He also went on England's summer tour to South Africa last year, where he played in both of the midweek fixtures.
Kitchener has already sampled plenty of the 'big-game' atmosphere at Welford Road.
He has obviously set his sights on more of that, but is also determined to continue improving his own game.
He said: "I've really enjoyed my time with Leicester Tigers so far and I'm happy to agree to stay with the club.
"I played in an Aviva Premiership final and LV= Cup final in my first season here and I've also played in the Heineken Cup.
"I think I've learned a lot in my time at Leicester and I'm looking forward to continuing to develop my game here in the future."
Tigers' director of rugby Richard Cockerill pointed to the competition for places as one of the reasons for Kitchener's progress.
"Graham is an ambitious young player and has come into a very competitive environment here because he wants to be the best player he can," said Cockerill.
"He has settled in very well here, he has taken on extra responsibility in his role in the squad and we look forward to watching his continued development in the coming years."