Bob Hiller - England - International Rugby Union Caps.

Photo/Foto: George Herringshaw

Date: 15 November 1973

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      Wednesday, 14 October 1942
      Woking, England.
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Bob HILLER - England - International Rugby Union Caps.

Career Record: Played 19: Won 6, Drew 3, Lost 10.

Test Points: 138 Tries: 3 Penalties: 33 Conversions: 12 Drop Goals: 2



1968 v Wales (Twickenham) D 11-11 (FN)
1968 v Ireland (Twickenham) D 9-9 (FN)
1968 v France (Colombes) L 14-9 (FN)

1968 v Scotland (Murrayfield) W 8-6 (FN)



1969 v Ireland (Dublin) L 17-15 (FN)
1969 v France (Twickenham) W 22-8 (FN)
1969 v Scotland (Twickenham) W 8-3 (FN)
1969 v Wales (Cardiff) L 30-9 (FN)

1969 v South Africa (Twickenham) W 11-8



1970 v Ireland (Twickenham) W 9-3 (FN)
1970 v Wales (Twickenham) L 17-13 (FN)

1970 v Scotland (Murrayfield) L 14-5 (FN)



1971 v Ireland (Dublin) W 9-6 (FN)
1971 v France (Twickenham) D 14-14 (FN)
1971 v Scotland (Twickenham) L 16-15 (FN)
1971 v Scotland (Murrayfield) L 26-6

(Centenary game)

1971 v Presidents XV (Twickenham) L 28-11



1972 v Wales (Twickenham) L 12-3 (FN)
1972 v Ireland (Twickenham) L 16-12 (FN) 


Bob scored in every international he played and
his 138 career points was a then English record.

He was England's most-capped full-back until
Dusty Hare.

Bob toured on both the 1968 & 1971 Lions tours
(SA and Aus/NZ respectively) but didn't
appear in any Test matches.
















                                                       (Part 1)   1968 - 1969.


As we all find out at some point in life, it is foolish to judge a person on their initial appearance. Legendary Welsh scrum-half Gareth Edwards admits to making this mistake of Bob Hiller, one of England's most faithful servants of the late 1960s and early 1970s. Indeed, Edwards would comment in his autobiography: "The English full-back at the time, RB Hiller of the Harlequins, to me always looked pompous and aloof on and off the field. His Oxford background made it easy to believe first impressions. How wrong I was. What a great Lions tourist! What a superb kicker of the ball!" Hiller was indeed a superb kicker of the ball, bagging some 138 points in 19 tests between 1968 and 1969, 129 of which came courtesy of the boot.


He was also highly prolific in the red shirt of the Lions, reaching the century in both of his tours to South Africa and New Zealand respectively. An excellent cricketer at Oxford, Hiller took over the full-back slot from Roger Hosen for the 1968 season at a time when his toe end style of kicking was gradually being replaced by the "round the corner" technique that is universal today. Bob's debut came in an 8-6 victory over Scotland at Murrayfield and marked his entrance to the international scene with a penalty and a conversion. He played in all of England's remaining matches that year and finished up with a tally of 22 points, including a highly controversial penalty against Ireland that rescued a 9-9 draw. With Ireland leading 9-6, scrum half Brendan Sherry threw an ill judged pass into touch, leading the referee to believe it was a time wasting exercise and penalised the visiting side.


Hiller duly slotted home the kick, and to add insult to injury, forward Mike Doyle and Mike Gibson later had to listen to a BBC news report that stated that "This afternoon, Ireland drew with England". 30 years later Doyle was still fuming: "Both of our boots hit the radio together - because England had just managed to draw with Ireland!". During the summer, Bob also toured with the Lions in South Africa, and though he was kept out of the side by captain Tom Kiernan, he scored 108 points for the midweek side. In 1969 Bob Hiller again played in all four matches of the Home Championship, rattling up a total of 36 points, just two short of his predecessor Roger Hosen's English record set in 1967.


The campaign saw England perform well in the first three matches, beating France and Scotland and losing only narrowly to Ireland. However, Wales were in determined mood in the last game of the series and hammered the home side 30-9, Bob scoring all of England's points. Later in the year he contributed 5 points as England defeated South Africa 11-8 at Twickenham in what was their first ever win against the Springboks. Whilst playing for London Counties against the same opposition, he also had the unusual experience of playing out on the wing, and even had to take his team's lineout throws!



























                                                    (Part 2) 1970 - 1972.



The 1970 season began with a match against Ireland at Twickenham, the game for which Bob is perhaps most remembered. Indeed, after recalled Irish star Tony O'Reilly had grabbed the headlines by turning up at HQ in a chauffeur driven Rolls Royce, Bob made his mark on the game itself with two of the greatest drop goals Twickenham has ever scene. He scored the first from just inside the Irish half near touch and then a few minutes later repeated the trick from virtually the same spot, though this time the ball sailed higher than the stands. Those six points broke Irish resolve, and in his chronicle of rugby's most famous shrine, author Wallace Reyburn would recall: "Nobody whoever saw the brace of Hiller drop kicks will ever forget them". After that 9-3 victory, Bob was part of the side that lost to both Wales and Scotland, but his place in rugby folklore was assured.


The campaign ended in a record 35-13 defeat by France in Paris, but Bob was spared that humiliation, his place taken by Tony Jorden. It would be fair to say that the 1971 season was not one of England's best, and at times it seemed that Hiller was the only player keeping the ship afloat. Indeed, his side lost five of their six matches that year and scored only five tries, three of them courtesy of Bob. Notable highlights were his reaching a century of points for England in a 14-14 draw against France, an appropriate achievement in what was the RFU's Centenary year. He also scored all 11 of England's points in a special match against a Presidents XV, a match England lost 27-11.


After such a poor season, Bob was probably relieved to join the British Lions on tour in New Zealand where he was affectionately known as "Boss" amongst his teammates. However, due to Barry John's form with the boot and JPR Williams physical presence at fullback, Hiller was confined to the reserve side for the second consecutive tour, though once again he topped 100 points, reaching his ton in a match against the Bay of Plenty. Journalist Clem Thomas described Hiller's contribution as thus: "Bob was one of those essential men who led the midweek team and helped to keep them motivated; tours without a leader of the dirt trackers usually struck problems in the provincial games."


Hiller also showed his sense of humour in the face of provocation, illustrated on one occasion when someone in the crowd took objection to his meticulous approach to building a mound for a kick, shouting "Do you want a shovel Hiller?". Legend has it that Bob replied "Give me your mouth, that's big enough!", duly scored the penalty and then offered the fan what equestrian followers would term a "Harvey Smith". After the Lions tour, Bob played in one more Five Nations campaign, his final appearance coming in a game against Ireland at Twickenham.  (Jon Collins)