RISING star Andrew Kitchener insists he has not developed to his full physical potential as he looks to hit the gym hard this summer.

The 21-year-old second row forced his way into the first-team reckoning at the back end of last season, making six appearances for Worcester Warriors.

His performances drew praise from director of rugby Alan Solomons as he featured off the bench in four of Warriors’ final five Premiership games.

Kitchener who made his top-flight debut against Northampton Saints in November 2016 said he felt “quite comfortable” playing at that level.

But with more than two months to go before the new season gets underway the 6ft 7in lock is keen to use the time to beef up.

“Physicality-wise I don’t think I have developed to my full potential yet as a lot of the guys are slightly bigger and stronger than me,” Kitchener said.

“But I would like to think I am not too out of place in that role.

“Pre-season is a good opportunity to build that conditioning and strength and prepare myself for the physical challenges that the Premiership offers.”

Kitchener who turns 22 next month is set to be in Warriors’ academy for the fifth season as he finishes off his degree in economics at the University of Birmingham.

But the former England under 20 international is likely to be in Solomons’ plans again as he battles for one of the second row spots.

“As a young player you have got to realise that you are not going to play all of the time,” Kitchener said.

“Although selection is out of your control you can put in performances in training and in A League games to try to put your hand up for the first-team so that’s what I will try to do.

“I feel like I have improved in certain areas of my game and the exposure to Premiership rugby has definitely helped me.

“I try to work on the defensive side of my game and my physicality.

“I have been working with the coaches to improve tackle technique which I think has paid dividends.

“If I can make similar improvements next year and build on that then that would stand me in good stead.”

Shrewsbury-born Kitchener will be hoping to impress Rory Duncan and Neil Doak who have joined the club as head coach and attack and backs coach respectively.

“The start of any season is a good opportunity for guys to stake their claim as it will be like a fresh slate,” Kitchener added.

“I think that will be no different next season.

“I have been here for a few years now so I am quite settled in the environment and it would be good to push on for more first-team games.

“There is going to be a lot of competition so it is not going to be easy but I am looking forward to that challenge.”