LOCK Graham Kitchener returns to the starting 15 for the first time this season as the experienced lock is named in the second-row for this weekend's Gallagher Premiership clash with Exeter Chiefs at Sixways (3pm kick-off).

Kitchener suffered a stress fracture in his foot during the latter stages of last season and his return was due in the European Challenge Cup games against Pau and Ospreys but due to the suspension of the tournament, he has had to wait until now to get back on the pitch.

He will partner the impressive Justin Clegg in the second-row, who is preferred ahead of Anton Bresler, who is on the bench.

Graham's younger brother Andrew Kitchener remains unavailable due to injury.

New signing Chris Ashton is not included in the squad for the game but head coach Jonathan Thomas did say in Tuesday's press conference that this game might come too soon for Ashton, who has not played a lot of rugby recently.

There is just one other change to the Worcester side that lost up at Sale back at the start of January, with fly-half Billy Searle replacing Duncan Weir in the ten jersey.

Weir, who is off to Glasgow Warriors at the end of the season, will make his 50th appearance in a Warriors shirt should he come off the bench on Saturday.

South Africa international centre Francois Venter returns to the squad having recovered from illness, which forced him to miss three matches.

Venter is joined among the replacements by hooker Beck Cutting, who missed out on the trip to Sale but there is no place in the squad for Jamie Shillcock.

Warriors | 15 Chris Pennell, 14 Perry Humphreys, 13 Oli Morris, 12 Ashley Beck, 11 Nick David, 10 Billy Searle, 9 Francois Hougaard, 1 Ethan Waller, 2 Niall Annett, 3 Nick Schonert, 4 Justin Clegg, 5 Graham Kitchener, 6 Ted Hill (C), 7 Matt Kvesic, 8 Marco Mama.

Replacements | 16 Beck Cutting, 17 Marc Thomas, 18 Richard Palframan, 19 Anton Bresler, 20 Sam Lewis, 21 Gareth Simpson, 22 Duncan Weir 23 Francois Venter.

Unavailable | Conor Carey, Matt Cox, Tom Dodd, Noah Heward, Lewis Holsey, Andrew Kitchener, Matt Moulds, Melani Nanai, GJ van Velze. International duty | Ollie Lawrence.

Chiefs | 15 Stuart Hogg, 14 Olly Woodburn, 13 Ian Whitten, 12 Ollie Devoto, 11 Tom O’Flaherty, 10 Joe Simmonds, 9 Jack Maunder; 1 Alec Hepburn, 2 Jack Yeandle (capt), 3 Tomas Francis, 4 Jonny Gray, 5 Sam Skinner, 6 Dave Ewers, 7 Richard Capstick, 8 Sam Simmonds. 

Replacemnets |16 Jack Innard, 17 James Kenny, 18 Marcus Street, 19 Don Armand, 20 Sean Lonsdale, 21 Sam Hidalgo-Clyne, 22 Harvey Skinner, 23 Tom Hendrickson.