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Cory Hill loving life in the Wales squad

Published 17/11/2016

Lock Cory Hill is relishing being part of the Wales international set-up
Lock Cory Hill is relishing being part of the Wales international set-up

Cory Hill cheerily admits he "reeled off a load of nonsense" when introducing himself to the Wales squad three weeks ago.

All squad newcomers are asked to make a 30-second introductory speech about themselves, the contents of which Hill would prefer to keep confidential.

But the fact it only happened last month - and Hill now finds himself making a full Test match debut alongside second-row partner Alun Wyn Jones against Japan on Saturday - speaks volumes for the impact he has made.

Wales' interim head coach Rob Howley believes that 24-year-old Hill, who was released by Cardiff Blues three years ago and had a short spell with English Championship club Moseley before being snapped up by Newport Gwent Dragons, has proved to be a real find during the autumn campaign.

And just a fortnight after making his Wales debut off the bench against Australia, Hill could now press strong claims to be involved when Wales conclude their November series against Principality Stadium visitors South Africa next week.

"I've loved every minute of being with the squad," Hill said. "It's a boyhood dream to come and play for Wales.

"Training alongside the world-class players we've got is brilliant. I just have to take it step by step. I am taking everything in my stride.

"I got called in to train with the squad, then called into the squad, then the match-day 23 (against Australia) and now I'm starting, so hopefully I can take my chance and stay in the starting XV."

Reflecting on his first day in the Wales camp, Hill added: "I just came in and sat down for breakfast, after arriving early and waiting for the boys to turn up.

"I just kept my head down and I didn't know what to expect - it's like a first day at school, I suppose. You are the new boy and most of the boys had been involved in the set-up before. It was only me and (Ospreys fly-half) Sam Davies who hadn't.

"I just got my head down, got on the computers and learnt the calls, because you don't want to turn up at training not knowing anything. I got my head in the laptop, and all of the boys were really helpful to get me up to speed.

"I had to give a 30-second speech about myself, so I just reeled off a load of nonsense and got on with it. I will keep that all between the four walls!"

Hill's emergence has added to Wales' strong second-row resources alongside Jones, Luke Charteris, Bradley Davies and Jake Ball, and he is thriving on being in the international arena, particularly after the career blip of 2013.

"You have to take a step back to go forward in your career sometimes," Hill said.

"I was only young when I got released by the Blues, but I knew I had a career and 15 years of rugby ahead of me.

"You can't beat yourself up over things like that, you just have to bounce back when you get knocked down, and that's what I did.

"The second-rows have gone well so far, so it's up to me now to live up to their standards. I've got to put my head down, put in a good performance and who knows what will happen."

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