Ex-England scrum-half Hill quits as Rouen boss after eight-year stint
Former England World Cup final scrum-half Richard Hill has announced he is leaving Rouen after an eight-year stint in the lower leagues in France. Now aged 60, the ex-Worcester boss first headed across the Channel in 2013 and he helped the Normandy minnows rise from Federal 2 to Pro D2.
Rouen, who have ex-England lock Tom Palmer working as Hill’s assistant, finished the recently completed 2021/21 season in 14th place, five points clear of the relegated Valence following a poor late run that featured just a single win in their last five outings.
However, the pandemic rather than the lower-table results is what brought an end to the 29-cap England No9’s long stint at the club. A statement about Hill on the Rouen website read: “Richard has made the decision to leave the club. “This is a carefully considered choice which comes after seasons spent at Stade Rouennais and then at Rouen Normandie Rugby. Richard explains this decision by, in particular, the desire to be closer to his family.
“Indeed, this year, the Covid did not allow him to travel to England to see his family as much as he wanted. Richard feels the need to be closer to them and to spend a lot more time with his wife, children and grandchildren.
“This announcement is sudden for the club, but we would like to thank Richard who continued to work without telling anyone about his decision, so as not to destabilise the players and the club in their quest to stay in Pro D2. We would like to thank Richard, who arrived in Rouen in 2013 after the club had just moved up to Federal 2.
Il y a 2 ans jour pour jour, le RNR accédait pour la 1ère fois de son histoire à la Pro D2 ?
Revivez cette fin de saison inoubliable :
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— Rouen Normandie Rugby (@RouenNdieRugby) May 24, 2021
“Thanks to his flawless investment, he allowed Normandy to have their first club in Pro D2. Norman rugby will never thank him enough for the work done during all these years. He leaves our club in a good situation. The club has therefore launched research to succeed him and a good number of candidates have already declared themselves.”
What the rugby life is like at Rouen was compelling charted in Fringes: Life on the Edge of Professional Rugby. Self-published last year by Ben Mercer, an ex-Championship level player in England who had been at Bath academy, the book detailed his stint at the club under Hill in very fine, revealing detail.
"I mean, yesterday it was knocking up in the main sports category with Tyson Fury and Mike Tyson, so that is awesome."
— RugbyPass (@RugbyPass) May 3, 2020
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