After spending his career at a single club, making 275 appearances in Saracens colours, scoring more than 100 points for his beloved team and bridging the gap from amateur to professional, it is no surprise that Richard Hill was among the latest additions to the Premiership Rugby Hall of Fame.
The 43-year-old, now the England team manager, was inducted alongside England back row colleague Neil Back, as well as Mark Cueto, Hugh Vyvyan and Mike Tindall during a gala evening at London’s Honourable Artillery Company.
Hill joined Saracens in 1993 and only left in 2008, when father time came knocking and he retired from the game.
In that 16-year career Hill won the 2003 Rugby World Cup alongside Back and Tindall, played 71 times for his country and toured three times with The British & Irish Lions, making 13 appearances in the famed red jersey.
And Hill said loyalty is still a quality to be valued.
“I recognised that it was my performances with the club that allowed me to catapult myself into international rugby,” he said.
“I always like to think that I’m someone who will honour what I’m doing. I’m not a person who will just put change in for the sake of it.
“It was a wrench to go away from my old junior club in Salisbury.
“But clearly if I wanted to progress myself as an individual and compete at the highest level, then I had to move – that was to Saracens.
“It was a fantastic relationship with the club, and it allowed me to achieve some incredible milestones as a player.
“I would have loved to have won more, while I was playing for Saracens. But clearly they have found a great formula in the past seven years, with some amazing successes – none more so than last year when they got the double.”
The five rugby legends helped raise thousands of pounds at the fourth Premiership Rugby Hall of Fame Ball for Wooden Spoon, Movember Foundation, Sport Relief and Restart Rugby, the official charity of the Rugby Players Association. The event also celebrated two decades of Premiership Rugby as it continues its 20th season.
Hill and Back were the only two of this year’s inductees to play in both the amateur and professional eras, and the Saracens man proclaimed it one of his stand-out memories, from a career of landmarks.
“It’s a huge honour to join such an illustrious group of players. There are some players that have an amazing longevity within their respective club, or clubs, so to join them is very humbling,” he added.
“I suppose the bit that stands out for me are the game going professional.
“We were very fortunate, as a club, to have Nigel Wray come in, who is still very prominent in terms of club rugby.
“He catapulted Saracens from being a top-end division two, or bottom Premiership side, into a side that, certainly during those early years when we were fighting it out to be top, consistently competed.
“One of the early years we narrowly lost in the last game of the season, to become runners up, so being a runner up was one thing I will always remember.
“I would’ve preferred to win it, of course, but it was great to be able to play at a high level with Saracens.”