Prop Hill to join from Northampton Saints

Prop Hill to join from Northampton Saints

Edinburgh Rugby has completed the signing of England international tighthead prop Paul Hill from Northampton Saints on a two-year deal.

Hill, 29, will make the move to the Scottish capital this summer, leaving Saints after nine seasons and close to 200 appearances at the Franklin Gardens club.

Hill – who has won six caps for England – brings further quality and experience to Edinburgh Rugby’s front-row group, joining Scotland internationalists Javan Sebastian and D’Arcy Rae, and recently re-signed Scottish-qualified tighthead, Angus Williams.

On moving to Edinburgh, Hill said: “This is a really exciting challenge and one that I can’t wait to get stuck into. From everything I’ve read and heard, Edinburgh is an amazing club and city, while it will be great to test myself in a new league in the URC.

“I’ve absolutely loved my time at Northampton Saints, and I can’t speak highly enough of the people connected to the club and fans who’ve backed me throughout my career so far. However, after nine seasons, the time was right to move on. My family and I are really excited about this move.

Hill added: “From speaking to Sean [Everitt], he’s got a really clear plan and vision for the club. He wants to win on the field while creating an environment and culture of winning off the field too. It’s something that I can buy into really easily.

“I’m an experienced player – I’ve played nearly 200 games for Saints – while I’m still pretty young at 29, so I know I’ve still got a huge amount to offer. Given my experience, I can hopefully help out some of the younger Scottish props coming through the system too.

“I can’t wait to link up with the squad this summer and represent such a historic club for the next two seasons.”

German-born Hill attended Prince Henry’s Grammar School in Otley before kick-starting his professional career at Yorkshire Carnegie – for whom he debuted in 2014 – before signing on with Saints after a season in the second tier.

Just three months after donning a Saints shirt for the first time (against Worcester Warriors), the tighthead prop was called into the England squad for the 2016 Six Nations and made his international debut in Rome in that campaign – the first of six caps to date – having previously represented his country at U16, U18 and U20 levels.

Hill enjoyed a successful 2018/19 campaign, helping Saints to the knock-out stages of every competition that term – featuring for the club in both the European Challenge Cup quarter-final and Gallagher Premiership semi-final, as well as picking up a Premiership Rugby Cup winners’ medal as he started the final against Saracens at Franklin’s Gardens.

The prop would hit his 100th Saints appearance in 2019/20, while also scoring his first ever points in a Saints shirt against Leicester Tigers at Welford Road – scoring an almost identical solo effort to a try that was chalked off at the same ground some four years previously.

Hill – by now Saints’ senior tighthead – reached another milestone for the midlands club in March 2022 when he made his 150th appearance in the victory at London Irish, which went some way towards his side qualifying for the Premiership play-offs.

Hill has made eight appearances so far this current campaign with Northampton Saints sitting top of the Gallagher Premiership after 13 rounds.

Edinburgh Rugby Head Coach Sean Everitt said: “We’re really happy to secure the signature of a player of Paul’s [Hill] quality and experience. He’s played a lot of rugby at a top level and his arrival will only help drive standards and competition at the tighthead position.

“With WP [Nel] hanging up his boots at the end of the year, it was imperative we recruited well in that department. We feel Paul has all the attributes to succeed in our pack, and he can hit the ground running straight away this summer.”

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