England have bolstered their backroom staff with the appointment of Richard Hill. The respected former flanker, who appeared 71 times for his country and was an ever-present member of the 2003 World Cup-winning side under Sir Clive Woodward, has been named team manager and will reunite with former director of rugby Eddie Jones at Twickenham, eight years after ending his lengthy Saracens career due to persistent knee trouble.
"It is a great honour to take up this position with the national team," the 43-year-old said. "These are exciting times for English rugby and I look forward to supporting the team and management in our journey to the World Cup in 2019."
Hill, who also featured in five Tests for the British and Irish Lions and travelled on three tours in 1997, 2001 and 2005, is already familiar with the Rugby Football Union (RFU) having been on their council since 2008 and also served as pathway liaison manager for the last two years. That consultancy role involved mentoring and developing players aged between 15-19 in addition to working closely with clubs, academies and schools across the nation.
The 43-year-old will now report to Jones, who is delighted to bolster his team with the addition of one of England's true union greats.
"Richard is an icon of English rugby and I am very pleased he has agreed to join the England management team," he said. "His vast international experience and in-depth knowledge of the RFU player pathway means he's a great fit for this role in the England set-up.
"Richard's responsibilities will range from maintaining England Rugby's internal and external relationships to providing mentoring and support for players and management. It is important we use the knowledge of former international players and keep an historical link with the past. I am in no doubt that Richard will excel in his role and I look forward to working with him again as we continue our preparation for the Old Mutual Wealth Series later this year."
England have enjoyed a remarkably swift recovery from last year's World Cup shambles under Stuart Lancaster, which saw them become the first hosts in tournament history not to advance from the initial pool phase. In addition to winning their first Six Nations Grand Slam for 13 years, they also inflicted an embarrassing, historic whitewash on the Wallabies during a summer tour Down Under.
Next on the agenda for Jones' ever-improving – but increasingly injury-stricken – team is an Autumn International series that begins with the visit of South Africa to Twickenham on 12 November, before home clashes against Fiji, Argentina and Australia on successive weekends. Hill, who toured South Africa with the Saxons in June, will join up with the senior squad next week as they prepare for those aforementioned matches with a two-day training camp in Brighton.