6th March 2014
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In what has been a breakthrough year for the powerhouse 20-year-old centre, Hill's impressive on-field form has been rewarded by head coach Rob Baxter, who is clearly keen to ensure one of the club's brightest talents remains on board for the foreseeable future.

Not only has Hill established himself as key performer for the Chiefs both in the Aviva Premiership and Heineken Cup, but he added to his growing international stature by featuring for the England Saxons in their recent friendly with the Irish Wolfhounds at Kingsholm.

Hill's new deal means the Exeter-born back will remain with his hometown club until at least the summer of 2017 - and is a clear indication that the Devon club are more than happy to put their long-term trust in the growing array of talent that has come through the ranks of the club's Academy set-up.

“I'm delighted with the new contract and very happy to stay around where I was born and where I have grown up," said Hill. "It’s really exciting for me and I’m very happy to be extending my stay here for a few more years.

“Obviously since the start of the season I didn’t really expect to play as much as I have done, but it’s been brilliant and I have learnt so much already this year.

“When Rob came to me and said do you want to sign an extension, it was fairly easy to say ‘yes’ - as I said the club have been brilliant ever since I joined and each year you can see it is getting better and better, so it was an easy decision for me to stay around."

Along with Luke Cowan-Dickie, Joel Conlon, Henry Slade and Jack Nowell, Hill was one of a quintet of Exeter youngsters who last summer helped England's Under-20s side to lift the Junior World Championships for the first time ever.

Hill, along with Nowell, were both try-scorers in the final against Wales, whilst Slade kicked the remainder of the points as the Red Rose country triumphed 23-15 in Vannes.

The Chiefs provided the largest contingent of players from one club in that England squad and Hill insists the work being done within the club's academy programme is bearing fruits all the time.

He added: “As a group of young players we’ve all seemed to come through at the same time, so that has made it a lot easier for all of us. Obviously Nowellsy has done really well for himself, but I think all of us have made good progress and we’re showing the coaches what we can do. It’s great for the club to have so many of us youngsters coming through and who knows in a few years’ time there could be a huge amount of us academy lads playing in the first team.

“All of us in the academy have gone through the same system as those young boys that are doing it now. Whether it is at Ivybridge, Truro or Bicton, you try to get your chance initially in the Under-18s or the A League, maybe even the LV team, and you take it from there. It’s taken a lot of hard work from all of us, but the rewards are certainly there if you’re willing to get your head down and do the graft. That’s something I’ve always tried to do, whether it be in training or in games, and it’s something I’ll look to continue to do in the future.

“The coaches here at the club have really helped all of us young lads, the work they’ve done has enabled us all to get the recognition that we have with things like the Under-20s and even the Saxons."

The new contract for Hill means he will no longer be considered part of the club's academy set-up and instead will be a fully-fledged member of the senior squad.

“As from next year I’m not going to be an academy boy anymore, so I know more will be expected of me," said Hill. "I know I will have to try and play well and keep improving if I want to stay in the first team.

“The more experienced guys at the club have always been very helpful, people like Sireli, Shoey, Dolly and Whitts, they’ve all given me tips and things to work on. Also I try to look at their games as well and see where I can pick up the odd thing or two that can improve my game.

“I hope there is more to come from me over the next few years but, as I said, I know I have to work hard, get my head down and see what happens. Playing for the Saxons wasn’t something I really expected, but it was a real boost for me during the course of the season, and hopefully I can experience more days like that in the future.”


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