Cory Hill’s stellar Six Nations campaign is over as an ankle injury has ruled him out of the remainder of Wales’ campaign.
The Dragons second row had climbed a mountain these past 20 months, journeying from anonymity to becoming an England Grand Slam killer who suddenly became a household name on Saturday to anyone following the compelling drama of the 2019 championship.
After what seemed a lifetime battling in the shadows for proper recognition, the 27-year-old will be forever remembered as the lock whose try secured the lead in the pulsating win that has put Warren Gatland’s team in the history books as the first from Wales to win a dozen Test matches in succession.
It was fitting that Hill was the scorer as it was his 11th appearance in the record winning streak (only sub hooker Elliot Dee has a similar number of caps). However, an ankle injury sustained in that epic match will now mean he misses the remaining games against Scotland and Ireland.
“Cory was outstanding on Saturday, obviously with his try as well and he’s a fantastic player for us. He’s a good person around the squad as well, [but] we’ve got some fantastic players in that position as well so it will be quite interesting to see who plays in the last few games”, skills coach Neil Jenkins said.
Hill’s crucial try had been firmly one in the eye for the desultory English media who had led the charge in ridiculing the Wales forward and the other five parachuted-in players who made up the notorious Geography Six chosen as mid-tour 2017 Lions cover due to their proximity to New Zealand.
— Welsh Rugby Union ? (@WelshRugbyUnion) February 26, 2019
The multi-layered story about how he came to touch down on the right hand side with the clock showing 67:26 will live in the memory of every Wales fan as it rounded off the complete team move.
All 15 Welsh players handled the ball during the spell-binding 206-second attack that began on their own 10-metre line and finished up over the English try line.
— Guinness Six Nations (@SixNationsRugby) February 23, 2019
Fourteen players carried to the 34 rucks, scrum-half Gareth Davies – another of the criticised Geography Six – the only one who didn’t go to ground and set up a recycle. Davies, though, was heavily active as the busiest of the half-dozen Welsh passers of a ball that was passed 28 times during the scintillating move ignited by a sloppy English error.
In total, there were four minutes and five seconds of non-stop action between the ball being kicked off at the halfway line by Dan Biggar on 63:19 following Owen Farrell’s successful penalty kick for a 13-9 advantage and it being touched down for Hill’s try.
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