Worcester Warriors and former North Midlands Under-16s flanker Ted Hill has linked grassroots rugby with the highest level of the game in the space of 24 hours.
Hill flew to Portugal today for a training camp with England’s senior squad ahead of the opening Quilter International against South Africa at Twickenham next week.
But before he packed his bags for his first involvement in Eddie Jones’ squad, Hill fulfilled his weekly commitments as coach of Malvern’s Colts team.
Hill, 19, began his playing career at Malvern in their Under-6 side and played all his rugby for the club his father Vince captained before he joined the Three Pears Warriors Academy.
Hill is still a member of the Academy at Sixways but his impressive progress since he marked his Gallagher Premiership debut with a brace of tries in the win at Leicester Tigers on September 23 has thrust him into the national spotlight.
But Hill has not forgotten his rugby roots. He accepted an invitation from Malvern Director of Rugby Rob Cook, the former Gloucester full-back, to coach the club’s Colts team three months ago and was committed to fulfilling his Tuesday night duties at Spring Lane before turning his attention to England’s training camp.
“I suppose in the next 24 hours I will be seeing both ends of rugby. From the grassroots at my old club where I started to experiencing some high level stuff that I haven’t been part of yet,” Hill said.
“I have been coming here since I was very, very young. Dad was captain here and he brought me down when I was very young. It’s my second home and it’s developed me into the player I am.
“I have always come back and watched the first team when I can and the club means a great deal to me.
“During the summer Rob Cook asked if I wanted to be involved with the Colts doing some coaching. I snapped at the opportunity with it being my old club and it was a chance to give something back to them.”
Hill’s progress through the age groups at Malvern into the North Midlands Under-16s county side, to Warriors and representative honours with England at every age group from Under-16 to Under-20 has been followed by his father, mother Jan and elder brother Max, a former England Counties Under-18s back-row forward who is now playing National League rugby for Loughborough University.
Vince Hill played for Metropolitan Police and county rugby for Middlesex as a lock before he moved to the Midlands and became a first team regular at Malvern, captaining the club in the 2002/03 season.
“It has been a crazy week and a crazy season. We expected Ted to push on after his success at the World Under-20 Championship but it’s exceeded our wildest expectations,” Vince said.
“We are extremely proud of everything he has achieved as a player and a person and the way he conducts himself on the pitch and off the pitch.
“He first came down here when I was playing. He started in the Under-6s and progressed through the age groups.
“He’s had some superb coaching here and I remember Stuey Lucas, one of Ted’s coaches, presenting him with a trophy at the end of one season and saying that he expected him to play at the highest level. So Stuey had a keen eye for a bit of talent.”
Ted’s talent was also identified by former Warriors lock Nick Tisdale who was an influential figure in his early development and who still coaches in the Three Pears Warriors Academy.
“It’s testament to Ted that he still comes down to Malvern and works with the juniors. He’s not forgotten where he’s come from. He’s very humble and he appreciates that you only get out of it what you put in,” Tisdale said.
“He’s an inspiration to youngsters and everyone else at the club but it’s not changed him one bit.”