Richard Hill in action for England.
(Part 1) 1984-1987.
Richard Hill was a highly skilled scrum-half who won 29 caps spread across seven years, only reaching his peak as his career drew to a close. A native of Bristol, he played his club rugby for west country rivals Bath and won a hatful of honours including six league championships and eleven Cup final appearances. Richard made his international debut against South Africa in 1984 on a tour that probably should never have taken place given the political situation at the time. Aside from off the field concerns, John Scott's side were thrashed by record margins in the test series, conceding 68 points in two matches. After that inauspicious start, Richard made just three appearances in the next two seasons, all of them as a replacement.
For the 1987 season he was made captain of England, but sadly his tenure will always be remembered for his blood curdling pre match team talk against Wales in Cardiff. Using somewhat colourful language, Hill suggested to his teammates that they should no longer allow themselves to dominated by their Welsh opponents (England had not won in Cardiff since 1963). Centre Jamie Salmon later recalled "It was then that Anglo-Welsh relations on the field were at an all time low. Hill's planned team talk went out the window. It became a verbal tirade against the Welsh - unbeknown to him, the RFU's Don Rutherford was listening to everything." Rutherford's presence proved crucial in the aftermath of the bloodbath that followed, and Hill was stripped of the captaincy and suspended, along with Graham Dawe and Gareth Chilcott. He was, however, allowed to travel down under with the World Cup party and played in the pool match against the USA. (Jon Collins)
Richard Hill pictured on 3rd. November 1990 in action for England at Twickenham.
Photo George Herringshaw.
(Part 2) 1988-1991.
Richard Hill was ignored by England for the 1988 and 1989 seasons, largely due to his Cardiff indiscretion and the arrival of the young Dewi Morris. However, class will out and Richard's displays for Bath ensured that he remained in the frame. His return came in a heavy defeat of Fiji in the autumn of 1989, and he went on to play in twenty consecutive games until his retirement. Now performing at his peak, Richard was a major component in England's excellent form in the first three matches of the 1990 Five Nations campaign and he often provided the ammunition for the likes of Guscott, Carling and Underwood. He even managed to score his first try for England when he touched down in spectacular style during the last minute of a 25-6 victory against Wales.
Unfortunately, joy was turned to despair in the final game against Scotland at Murrayfield when the home side won 13-7 to take the Grand Slam. Despite the loss, Richard generally played well, and it was he who set up England's only try scored by Jeremy Guscott. After coming so close to glory, Richard was not about to give up and started the 1990/91 season in emphatic style by scoring England's first try against Argentina in a 51-0 victory. He then played superbly in the 1991 Championship, though his natural attacking instincts needed to be curbed to accommodate England's more pragmatic style. Nevertheless, all four matches were won for the first time since 1980, including a prized win in Cardiff. England were brought down to earth on tour in Australia, losing the one off test 40-15, but entered the World Cup as one of the favourites. Despite having to fend off incessant criticism about their style of play, England made it through to the final, where they were beaten 12-6 by Australia in what proved to be Richard's last test. (Jon Collins)
Richard Hill played 20 consecutive games for England from the
58-23 win over Fiji in 1989
until his final cap
in the 1991 World Cup final defeat against Australia. Pic G. Herringshaw.©
Career Record: Played 29: Won 16, Lost 13
Test Points: 8
| 1984 v South Africa (Port Elizabeth) L 33-15
1984 v South Africa (Johannesburg) L 35-9
1985 v Ireland (R) (Dublin) L 13-10 (FN)
1985 v New Zealand (R) (Wellington) L 42-15
1986 v France (R) (Paris) L 29-10 (FN)
1987 v Ireland (Dublin) L 17-0 (FN)
1987 v France (Twickenham) L 19-15 (FN)
1987 v Wales (Cardiff) L 19-12 (FN)
1987 v USA (Sydney) W 34-6 (W. Cup)
1989 v Fiji (Twickenham) W 58-23
1990 v Ireland (Twickenham) W 23-0 (FN)
1990 v France (Paris) W 26-7 (FN)
1990 v Wales (Twickenham) W 34-6 (FN)
1990 v Scotland (Murrayfield) L 13-7 (FN)
1990 v Argentina (Buenos Aries) W 25-12
1990 v Argentina (Buenos Aries) L 15-13
1990 v Argentina (Twickenham) W 51-0
|1991 v Wales (Cardiff) W 25-6 (FN)
1991 v Scotland (Twickenham) W 21-12 (FN)
1991 v Ireland (Dublin) W 16-7 (FN)
1991 v France (Twickenham) W 21-19 (FN)
1991 v Fiji (Suva) W 28-12
1991 v Australia (Sydney) L 40-15
1991 v New Zealand (Twickenham) L 18-12 (W.Cup)
1991 v Italy (Twickenham) W 36-6 (W.Cup)
1991 v USA (Twickenham) W 37-9 (W.Cup)
1991 v France (Paris) W 19-10 (W.Cup)
1991 v Scotland (Murrayfield) W 9-6 (W.Cup)
1991 v Australia (Twickenham) L 12-6 (W.Cup Final)