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Ted Hill breaks silence on red card that cost him England place

By Liam Heagney

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Worcester skipper Ted Hill is hoping to make up for lost time this winter to force his way back into the England squad reckoning after a Gallagher Premiership red card and ban prevented him from competing for an Autumn Nations Series place. Having earned his second cap during the summer series, the Warriors back-rower was included in the 45-strong squad chosen for the two-day mini-camp in London at the end of September. 

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However, the 22-year-old Hill had his hopes of making it into the England squad for the matches versus Tonga, Australia and South Africa dashed when he was sent off against Gloucester on October 2 and banned a few days later for three matches.   

Originally capped as a teenager versus Japan in November 2018, it was a big deal for Hill to get back and win his second England cap after such a long gap when coming off the bench versus the USA in July. He was unfortunately injured, though, at England training in the lead-up to the following week’s match versus Canada and his October suspension confirmed that any designs he had on winning a third cap will have to wait until 2022. 

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Guess the celebrity Rose | Karen Carney | England Rugby
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Guess the celebrity Rose | Karen Carney | England Rugby

“It was unfortunate,” said Hill to RugbyPass about the suspension for a tip-tackle on Gloucester’s Lloyd Evans. “My ban just fell at a bit of annoying time. I spoke to him [England boss Jones] before that camp and it is what it is. 

“It is one of those things where I was happy with where I was going and what I was doing but the ban comes at an annoying time where I can’t show the best of what I can do and it is difficult to get into that squad. 

“I am really happy for the guys who played over the autumn, they did an excellent job and got some excellent wins and they are really looking to expand their game. They played a different style of rugby and they did it really well. I am pleased for them. Hopefully, I can keep working hard here and see what the future holds.”

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So frustrated were Worcester with the framework surrounding the tip tackle law that head coach Jonathan Thomas spoke to Joe Schmidt of World Rugby to outline his concerns. “We have an issue with the framework on that particular law and it is something that needs looking at by World Rugby because I just find it astonishing that a player is going to get a three-game ban for essentially getting kicked in the neck,” explained Thomas last month. 

How does Hill now look back on an ordeal where he was initially kicked in the neck by the ball catcher’s outstretched leg and grabbed hold of it in the aftermath, leading to the tip? “When you are looking at those sorts of incidents it is all about timing, when you are chasing kicks it is all about getting your timing right. 

“Personally I thought my timing was good, I thought my timing was there. I thought the high foot played a factor in it and it made it a little more difficult but if I was in that situation again I would try and slow down a little bit and look to maybe hold him a little bit and bring him to the ground a bit softer but it is difficult. 

“These things are split-second decisions so it is a tough one to make. It’s all about timing, getting your timing right. Hopefully, I can just get better at that.” The incident was Hill’s first red card in his burgeoning career and the judicial hearing is something he hopes not to go through again. 

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“They did it really well here at the club, they explained everything really well to me and made sure I was clear on what would happen. We had a Zoom… and I was just honest with them on what had happened and they had the footage. It was my first time doing that sort of stuff and it was hopefully my last time.”

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Ted Hill breaks silence on red card that cost him England place

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