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Kitchener provides painful reminder of old times
9:00am Friday 6th April 2012 in Tom Guest
IF Andy Goode’s red card at Leicester was the bitter-tasting icing on the cake during Worcester’s heavy defeat, then Graham Kitchener’s man-of-the-match showing was the hard-to-swallow cherry on top.
Highly-rated lock Kitch-ener, who opted to quit Sixways for Welford Road at the end of last term, was at his barnstorming best ag-ainst his former employers, catching the eye in every facet of the game.
Although Kitchener initially struggled to make his mark at Welford Road, he has gone about carving out quite a reputation for himself in the last month or so. He was simply awesome in last week’s 43-13 trouncing.
With Warriors having convinced prop Matt Mullan to remain with them for next season, Worcester hope that Kitchener will be one of the last in a long line of players who, having progressed through the club’s academy into the first XV, are then poached by the Aviva Prem-iership’s big fish.
There was huge interest – from the likes of Saracens among others – in securing Mullan’s services, so it was quite a coup for Worcester to persuade him to stay and the powers-that-be hope they will be able to convince their stars of the future – especially the likes of Matt Kvesic – that they can achieve their goals at Sixways.
Kitchener said: “It was obviously slightly difficult for me playing Worcester, but I was looking forward to it. It is always odd playing against guys you spent three or four years with and know very well. I tried to treat it as any other game and focused on that.
“The start of the season was a little bit frustrating for me as I wasn’t really playing or being involved that much, but the last month or so I’ve had a chance through inj-uries to other players.
“I want to just put a few games together and, hopefully, my performances will keep me in the team. Maybe they won’t, but I’m enjoying playing at the moment.
“Worcester is still very close to my heart and I think they’ve been playing well this season. They’ve been grinding out results and obviously they beat Saracens at Sixways and that is an impressive win. And for them to be all-but safe now, I was very happy when that happened.”
On the big win for his current team against his former employers, Kitchener added: “You can spend all week preparing for a game, but then things like that happen (Goode’s red card) and all your plans go out the window.”