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Last Updated:  Thursday, 20 March, 2003, 18:50 GMT
England players hail Hill
Richard Hill has long been England's unsung hero
Hill has never been dropped by coach Clive Woodward
England back-row Richard Hill has been acclaimed by fellow players and coach Clive Woodward ahead of Saturday's Calcutta Cup clash with Scotland.

The Saracens flanker has been an integral part of the England set-up since making his debut against Scotland in 1997.

And colleagues have been queuing up to pay tribute to Hill before the Twickenham showdown.

Former skipper and fellow back-row Lawrence Dallaglio said: "He was an unsung hero but he's shed that tag now and become one of the main men.

"He works at the coal-face, is very unfussy, has an incredible work-rate, gets through a lot of tackles and gets his hands on the ball.

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"That's why he's so well respected."

Another of England's back-row, Neil Back, was quick to agree.

"Hilly's a great competitor, has great skills, carries the ball well and has a very good work-rate. And he also does a lot of unseen work which makes him a players' player."

Woodward admitted he could not envisage an England team without him.

"I've dropped Back and Dallaglio, but I've never left Richard Hill out of my starting line-up because Richard Hill has never dropped off the pace.

"He's played fantastically well whether at 6, 8 or 7 and he's a brilliant footballer in a very competitive area."


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England coach Clive Woodward
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