Kitchener, Betham and Barrow ink new deals

Date published: January 11 2017

Leicester second-row Graham Kitchener has put pen to paper on a new contract to extend his stay at the Premiership outfit.

Kitchener is approaching 100 starts for the club since arriving from Worcester Warriors in 2011 and has been ever-present in the matchday squad in Premiership and Champions Cup fixtures this season.

Head coach Aaron Mauger identified Kitchener as a key player in the Tigers squad over recent seasons and said: "Kitch is an athletic and dynamic presence in the second-row and he now has a lot of experience under his belt in big games with the club.

"He has become an important part of the squad and has been a consistent performer in the team during his five years here.

"We believe he can continue to develop here as a player and a leader, and we look forward to seeing him playing a prominent role in coming years."

Kitchener, 27, said: "It was an easy decision to make. It was agreed nice and early. I've spent a lot of time at the club and I feel very at home here.

"Leicester Tigers is a great club to play for. You are playing in front of 24,000-plus fans every week at Welford Road. It is a prestigious club with huge history and an exciting future.

"It's great to be involved with the calibre of players and the squad we've got."

Meanwhile, Australia international Peter Betham has also committed his future to the Tigers after agreeing terms on a new deal at Welford Road.

Betham has played at wing and centre in 46 appearances in a season-and-a-half since joining the club, starting all 13 Premiership fixtures in 2016/17.

Tigers head coach Mauger said: "Peter has shown his versatility by playing at wing and centre in his 18 months at the club and we believe we will see even more growth in his game on the back of his experiences here so far.

"To see Graham Kitchener and Peter agree to new contracts is good news for the club because they have played key roles in the squad in the last few seasons and they were very keen to stay."

Betham, who has 10 tries in his 46 appearances for the club since making his debut on the opening day of the 2015/16 season, said: "It has been great so far. There have been some challenges but I've enjoyed my time here. I'm looking to build even bigger and better things and hope I can do that in the next couple of years.

"It was a big decision originally to move away from home but I feel like I have made a home in Leicester. I enjoy the environment and the Leicester community and hopefully I can give something back."

Finally, second-row Dom Barrow has also re-signed with the club.

He made his debut for Tigers last season and has totalled 28 appearances for the club since he arrived from Newcastle Falcons in 2015.

Barrow, 23, said: "I'm delighted to be re-signing with the club. When I came here, a lot of things were said about how tough the competition would be to get a place so for last year to have gone as well as it did and to have earned myself a new contract is really pleasing.

"I'm really looking forward to getting back on the pitch, we've still got a lot of games to play and lots of big rugby to come and I just can't wait to be involved."