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Northampton Saints props ready for England scrap

Paul Hill Northampton tighthead Paul Hill is destined to be one of England’s top stars, according to prop partner Alex Waller.

Hill, 21, has achieved a smooth transition into Premiership rugby since arriving from Yorkshire Carnegie last summer and the former England U20 was rewarded with a first senior cap against Italy during the Six Nations.

Waller, below, expects Hill to challenge Dan Cole and Kieran Brookes, telling The Rugby Paper: “Paul’s not the finished article by any means and he’ll say that as well, but he’s going to be one hell of a player for England in the next two years.

“If you look at what he’s showing now and the promise he’s got, he’ll be a force to be reckoned with and is one of the stars of the future.

“It was a great honour for him to get his first cap and it’s good to have Brookesy at Saints as well so they’ve got that competition. They’re working hard against each other and Paul will only get better if he keeps going the way he is.”

Waller, meanwhile, hopes to revive his own England career after maintaining a remarkable record of consistency since 2011.

Since coming off the bench in that year’s Heineken Cup final against Leinster, Waller has appeared in all 116 of Northampton’s Premiership and European matches, including yesterday’s clash at Saracens – an English record in the professional era.

Waller, 26, said: “I’ve been lucky not to pick up anything too serious injury-wise so it’s a record I’m proud of. It’s an honour, but I don’t focus on the numbers and, hopefully, there’ll be a few more trophies before I finish.”

Capped by England Saxons in 2014 before touring with the senior squad in New Zealand, Waller added: “I think I’m playing well and while there’s a lot of competition at loosehead, I rank myself as being up there as one of the top ones.

“I’d like to go to Australia and I briefly spoke to Eddie Jones when the Six Nations squad was announced, so I’m hoping to catch his eye.”

NEALE HARVEY

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