WARRIORS flanker Ted Hill has been named in England’s 34-man squad for the forthcoming Guinness Six Nations as the Sixways side prepare to return to league action following European Challenge Cup heartbreak.
Hill, 20, has already been capped by England as a replacement against Japan at Twickenham in November 2018 and returns to Eddie Jones’ senior squad having impressed with England Under-20s in the World Rugby Junior Championship in Argentina last summer.
The blindside is a product of the Three Pears Warriors Academy and recently committed himself to Warriors until the end of the 2021/22 season having signed a two-year contract extension.
England assembled at Pennyhill Park today (Wednesday) and were due to travel to Portugal tomorrow (Thursday) ahead of their first match against France in Paris on February 2.
“The Six Nations for us is all about raising the standards in terms of the way we prepare, tactically and physically how we play the game, and the way we come together off the field,” said head coach Jones. “But our first task is beating France in France and that is the only game we need to worry about.
“We will begin our preparations in Portugal, get a bit of sun, some warm conditions and get ourselves physically and mentally right for the game.
“The first three days will be about getting organised. We have got players from 11 clubs so we need to get everyone on the same page quickly, spend a lot of time working on our togetherness and then by Tuesday next week we are in Test preparation for France.
“It is always about winning the next game so we have picked the best squad available. At the same time we wanted to bring some young players in because we need to keep building our depth so for those new players it is an exciting opportunity for them.”
On the field, Warriors return to Gallagher Premiership action on Saturday with the visit of Wasps to Sixways, eight days after their hopes of progressing to the European Challenge Cup quarter-finals were ended.
A hat-trick of tries from Castres’ France international scrum-half Rory Kockott was the difference as Warriors gave up three converted tries in the final 26 minutes to lose 33-27 and miss out on qualification from Pool One.
Warriors needed a bonus point to reach the last eight and appeared to be on their way when Michael Heaney crossed for the third try six minutes into the second half.
At that stage Warriors led 27-12 but Castres were strengthened by the replacements they made and they secured their own place in the last eight with three converted tries in the final 26 minutes.
Two of those tries were scored while Warriors had GJ van Velze in the sin bin which made the task of stopping Castres’ powerful driving maul even more difficult.
Warriors’ first-half tries came from Jamie Shillock and Marco Mama, both converted by Duncan Weir who had also kicked two penalties as Warriors led 20-12 at the break.
Wasps arrive at Sixways on Saturday (kick off 3pm), battling to push up the league after winning just two of their opening eight top-flight fixtures.