Hill delighted by fierce second row competition

Head Coach Richard Hill admits the competition for places in the second row engine room is getting stronger with each week – and no player is guaranteed a starting spot there for the Warriors.

James Percival captained Warriors from lock last week against Saracens and was joined by Chris Jones.

Hill also has Dean Schofield and Craig Gillies desperate to force their way in and he revealed picking the right combination was crucial.

“It’s a tricky one because I’ve got good competition at lock,” said Hill. “Chris Jones is playing really well and Percy (James Percival), with his work-rate, is just unbelievable.

“We’re also in a position where Dean (Schofield) is getting fitter and fitter since joining from Toulon. Dean is playing very well and he came off the bench against Saracens and played really well in attack and defence.

“In terms of that selection, Dean is a very good club man. His response is always whatever is good for this club I will do. Is he happy about not starting? No, he’s not. He wants to be playing obviously. But he knows what he’s got to do.

“He’s working his socks off at the moment to make sure he gets on that team sheet by right. And I’ve got no doubt that he will do that and he’s got an outstanding attitude.

“He still captains the club off the field and we need him to come on and add his leadership when he comes on. He is a genuine clubman who wants the club to do well and he will play his part in that.

“Going back to James’ captaincy, I thought he did really well against Saracens,” added Hill.

“He was really pleased to be offered the captaincy. As he’s come through the Academy he has always had an ambition to captain this club one day and I could tell, by the fact that he was trying to supress his smile when I asked him, that he was very proud to be asked and fulfil one of his lifelong ambitions.

“After that you have to lead properly and perform well and I thought he had one of his best game, if not his best game of the season, as well. He actually played better as a result of being captain.”

Meanwhile, Hill revealed he will look to stick by the Warriors who stunned Saracens when he picks his team to face Quins – but expects new signing Euan Murray to feature.

“I will not be making too many changes to last Friday’s starting team. Last Friday night we played really well,” admitted Hill.  

“Euan Murray will come into the 23 and probably be on the bench because I will look to start with John Andress.

“John has obviously risen to the challenge of Euan arriving because he had one of the best games of his Warriors career last Friday against Saracens so it’s only right he starts.

“Euan has just arrived and he’s trying learn everyone’s name let alone the calls so there’s a huge amount of information he’s got to learn this week so it is probably a little bit too soon to put him in. But we’ll see him on the field at some point I’m sure.

“Joe Carlisle will miss out as he has got a pretty bad ankle and we’re looking at three or four weeks which is disappointing for him.”


“…Dean is a very good club man. His response is always whatever is good for this club I will do. Is he happy about not starting? No, he’s not. He wants to be playing obviously. But he knows what he’s got to do…"