Congratulations to former player and Academy graduate Paul Hill who was named in the initial 32 man squad for the Six Nations.
Paul joined Yorkshire Carnegie aged 15 and developed through the Academy system to become a first team regular last season. He left Carnegie just five months ago to join Northampton Saints and in this short time at Northampton has seen him made a big impression, making 13 appearances in both the Aviva Premiership and the European Rugby Champions Cup and this has caught the attention of new England coach Eddie Jones.
Paul made 30 appearances for Carnegie and made his debut against Plymouth in the 2013-14 season and the following campaign established a regular place in the starting line up. He already has plenty of experience at international level, having been part of the England U20s team who won the 2014 IRB Junior World Championship and was also selected along with his the Yorkshire Carnegie team mates, Jack Walker and Lewis Boyce, to train with the England senior squad at St George's Park. He also featured in all of England U20s 2015 World Rugby Under-20 Championships.
While a member of the Yorkshire Carnegie Academy, he represented England Under-16A, Uncer=17 and made his first appearance at Under-18 level in the starting line-up against Scotland. He scored a maiden try in his fifth game at that level in the 2013 FIRA/AER final when England beat France 27-22 in Grenoble. He has also played for Yorkshire U15 and U16 and the North U16 side.
Speaking about his call up to the England squad Yorkshire Carnegie’s Academy Director Andy Rock said the selection shows that the systems Carnegie have in place for their youth development is working. “It’s fantastic news to see the progress of a player who has come all the way through the Yorkshire system to be named within the full England squad,” said Rock. “It shows that our own academy system is producing some clear outcomes hand in hand with the national pathway, with Paul and another number of young players in the England squad having only recently graduated from the England Under-20s programme. Paul and his family are quite rightly delighted with the announcement yesterday, as we are for him to have this opportunity in front of him.
“It's not so long ago since Paul joined us as a 15 year old from Doncaster RUFC juniors, a time at which he began his move from the back row to the front row, guided very much by Mark Luffman at that point and during his ongoing development as a prop across the next four-years, including a significant playing spell at Otley RUFC only two years ago.
“As a regional academy player, Paul's journey had a number of ups and downs, which typifies that of a developing player at this level, but Paul always showed real athletic potential, which I feel was supported unbelievably well by our staff and programmes, including the experiences that he gained whilst with us at Prince Henry's Grammar school, where his programme was centred so heavily around his individual development.
“Undeniably, the work and commitment of our sports science and strength and conditioning staff has played a major part in Paul's current athletic ability. As a 20 year old tight head prop to be able to compete so well in the Premiership and to continue within the England pathway so soon after leaving us is a testament to that, as well as his own hard work and skill set. The sports science and research system that we have set up along with Leeds Beckett University and Dr Ben Jones in recent years continues to shape the way we support out developing players.
“Josh Darrall-Jones who worked very closely with Paul for a number of years also continues to prove his ability as a strength and conditioning coach to work with and develop our young players and support them towards becoming senior professionals, with fantastic future performance potential.
“Most importantly for us as a club, we are confident of working with and developing more players from the Yorkshire pathway towards the Premiership and for England. Our own journey to be at the top table as a professional club is the main focus, and to see our current group of academy players represent Yorkshire Carnegie on the Premiership stage is what we all want and need. The talent is certainly here in the county, and this is another example of that being proven.”