LUCTONIANS trained England international Jonny Hill has been selected for the British and Irish Lions squad to take on South Africa.
The 26-year-old who played for England during the Six Nations started off playing in the Lucs; min, junior and colts sides.
It is a piece of history for Luctonians, the first time one a product of their junior sides has been selected for a Lions tour.
Hill, who plays as a lock, left Luctonians to join Gloucester before current side Exeter Chiefs.
Lions’ head coach Warran Gatland described the task of picking the squad as the toughest of his long career, but always kept in mind the need to have players with the physicality to face down the world champion Springboks.
“If you were going to Australia or New Zealand then the make-up of the squad and certain players may look a little bit different,” he said.
“We have tried to get that balance right knowing we are going to have to roll our sleeves up on a few occasions and go toe to toe with the South Africans.
“South Africa have gone back to their DNA. Their mentality is about being physical and winning that physical battle. It’s going to be brutal at times.
“We want to play some really good rugby but at times we’re going to have to get in the trenches and battle it out with them because it’s going to be tough.
“We feel like we have picked players who, if we are in that situation, can do that sort of job for us.”
Gatland has increased his intended squad size by one, adding an extra back-five forward in anticipation of the physical onslaught awaiting across eight fixtures in South Africa.
“South Africa are going to have a big physical midfield and be really direct, said Gatland.
“We have to have centres to mirror that if we need to, but we also have to go and play some rugby.”
Gatland said that a revised version of the original tour schedule, which has been made necessary by the coronavirus pandemic, will be finalised soon.