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Page last updated at 15:16 GMT, Thursday, 27 May 2010 16:16 UK

Richard Hill named Worcester Warriors head coach

Richard Hill
Former Bath scrum-half Hill won 29 caps for England

Worcester Warriors have appointed former Bristol coach and England scrum-half Richard Hill as their head coach.

The 49-year-old has left French side Chalon-sur-Saone and has signed a two-year contract at Sixways.

Warriors' former director of rugby Mike Ruddock resigned in April after their relegation from the Premiership.

Dean Richards, who is currently serving a three-year ban from rugby, assisted Worcester in an independent external review into the relegation.

The former Harlequins coach was handed the ban because of his role in last season's 'Bloodgate' scandal.

Hill, who won 29 caps for England, spent six years in charge of Bristol before leaving in February 2009.

During his time at the Memorial Stadium, he helped steer the club back into the English top flight in 2005 after two years in National One and his side enjoyed initial success on their return to the Premiership.

In the 2006/7 season they finished third in the table, qualifying for the play-offs before they were beaten 26-14 by eventual champions Leicester.

In 2007/8 Hill took Bristol to ninth in the Premiership, having failed to progress from their Heineken Cup group, and the following season they were relegated.

He has now beaten off some stiff competition for the Worcester job after ex-Gloucester coach Dean Ryan, England forwards coach Graham Rowntree and World Cup winning former South Africa boss Jake White were all linked with the vacancy.

"This was an opportunity that I could not afford to let go," said Hill.

"Everyone knows what a fantastic set-up the Warriors have. The chairman [Cecil Duckworth]is very ambitious, and he has every right to demand success on the pitch after his financial commitment to the club.

"I have had a very successful and enjoyable time at Chalon-sur-Saone, but it is the right time to come back to England. My family are still here, and this represents the challenge and opportunity that I have been waiting for.

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"We will respect every side in the Championship and prepare ourselves for a long and hard season, but ultimately it will put us in a good position to succeed."

Worcester chairman Duckworth added: "Richard has a proven track record of winning the Championship, taking a side into the Premiership and then on to the Heineken Cup in quick succession.

"He also has a strong belief in developing the right culture off the pitch that will benefit our group of players.

"This is exactly what we need at this point in time as we embark on our next journey with an immediate aim of returning to the elite.

"I am confident that Richard will be successful, and I will ensure that he receives all the support that he requires."



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