Hill nearing Prem return

England World Cup winner Richard Hill could make a long-awaited return to Guinness Premiership action before the end of this month. [more]

Lions Australia Tour 2013

England World Cup winner Richard Hill could make a long-awaited return to Guinness Premiership action before the end of this month.

The Saracens flanker, who has won 71 caps, might be involved in his club’s Vicarage Road appointment with Worcester on Sunday week.

Hill recently began his comeback after 16 months out recovering from a serious knee injury in Saracens’ Guinness A League side – and early signs have proved encouraging.

"He came through fine in the A team game on Monday and played well," said Saracens rugby director Alan Gaffney.

"With only a five-day turnaround between the A game and the Northampton match tomorrow (Saturday), it would have been a fairly huge demand for him to be involved this weekend.

Google Ad Manager – In Article

"We may look at him in the A game next week, or even in the first team against Worcester next Sunday."

Hill could soon be part of a Saracens side growing in confidence following successive home Premiership wins against Bath and Leicester, and there are two notable starters on Saturday in centre Andy Farrell and fit-again French star Thomas Castaignede.

Castaignede makes his first start of the season at Northampton following a calf injury, while Saints will again be without wing Ben Cohen due to England commitments following his midweek call-up to replace the injured Iain Balshaw against South Africa.

Worcester visit the Twickenham Stoop for an appointment with Harlequins on Friday night after suffering seven successive league defeats, a dismal run that has cut them adrift at the Premiership basement.

Quins though, were in a similar position just two weeks ago, but successive victories over Northampton and Newcastle lifted them into ninth spot, only six points off the relative comfort of mid-table status.

"The teams near the bottom of the table are a couple of wins away from getting back in the mix," said Worcester rugby director John Brain.

"And we know if we manage to cross that bridge and achieve a win, then it could kick-start us."

Brain has recalled wing Thinus Delport and lock Tim Collier, while prop Chris Horsman has been released from Wales squad duty and will feature among Worcester’s replacements.

Horsman’s fellow Wales international, centre Hal Luscombe, is back in the Quins line-up after missing four games through injury.

Luscombe replaces Gavin Duffy as one of three changes from the side that beat Newcastle 14-3 last time out, with Simon Keogh in for injured wing Ugo Monye and lock Jim Evans handed a start with Nicolas Spanghero sidelined.

Newcastle hand first Premiership starts to southern hemisphere recruits Joe McDonnell and Loki Crichton against Sale Sharks at Edgeley Park on Friday night.

New Zealander McDonnell features in the front-row instead of Jon Golding, with Samoan fly-half Crichton replacing Gavin Beasley.

Other changes following a lethargic display against Quins see call-ups for hooker Matt Thompson, number eight Mike McCarthy, scrum-half Lee Dickson and centre James Hoyle.

Saturday’s league action sees leaders Gloucester facing a major examination of their unbeaten league record this term when they host Wasps, while Leicester entertain London Irish and west country rivals Bath and Bristol clash at the Recreation Ground.

Bristol will make the short journey buoyed by head coach Richard Hill agreeing a three-year contract extension as they target a win that should take them top if Gloucester lose.

Previous story Cueto determined on return
Next story Wales wait on duo