West hails improvement of Saints prop Hill

Paul Hill has been training with England this week
Paul Hill has been training with England this week

Dorian West believes prop Paul Hill has made big strides at Saints during the past six weeks.

And the forwards coach is hoping the youngster improves even further having trained with England during the past few days.

Kieran Brookes has held onto the Saints No.3 shirt in recent weeks

Kieran Brookes has held onto the Saints No.3 shirt in recent weeks

Hill was brought into the national squad on Monday and will finish training with Eddie Jones’ men today.

He has not played a part in either of the two Six Nations games so far, but is clearly still in the thoughts of the England coaches.

Meanwhile, Saints continue to try to help Hill improve on a weekly basis, with West clear about the area of the game the 21-year-old needs to work on most.

“We’ve seen quite a few improvements with Hilly over the past six weeks or so,” West said.

“We’re working hard with his game and trying to get him up to speed with everything, the main thing being his scrummaging.

“He has improved quite a bit over the past couple of months and he needs to get some experience from the lads he’s training with at England and hopefully he’ll bring some of that back with him.”

Hill started both Champions Cup matches last month, but has been back on the bench in recent weeks, with Kieran Brookes holding onto the No.3 shirt.

And when asked how tough it is to choose between the players, West said: “They are both players of good pedigree and they both offer different things.

“You’d class Brookesy as a more of a scrummager and Hilly more of an all-round rugby player so it’s about getting them both up to that standard in the whole game.

“We work hard with them and we’re really pleased to have both of them.”

While Hill, Dylan Hartley, Courtney Lawes and Tom Wood have been with England this week, Teimana Harrison has been back at Saints.

The back row forward was an unused replacement in the Six Nations opener against France before being released back to Saints ahead of last Friday’s game against Bath.

And Harrison was not included in the England training squad this week, leaving him free to prepare for Saints’ Aviva Premiership trip to Newcastle Falcons on Sunday.

“You feel a bit for T because he’s played really well and deserved his chance with England,” West said.

“He’s come back in, his attitude is really good, he wants to play every week.

“He’s back here and he’s playing, and we’re really pleased to have him here.

“On the other side of that, it’s disappointing that he’s not involved in the Six Nations.”