Injured Hill doing ‘everything I possibly can’ to boost World Cup chances
Cory Hill has vowed to do everything he can in pursuit of his World Cup target as he recovers from a fractured leg.
The Dragons lock has not played since February, when he scored a try during Wales’ Six Nations victory over England, after being struck down by an ankle injury initially and now a stress fracture.
Wales head coach Warren Gatland, though, has named him in a 31-man World Cup squad alongside fellow locks Alun Wyn Jones, Adam Beard and Jake Ball.
Hill and the Wales medical staff are aiming for full fitness ahead of a pivotal World Cup pool clash against Australia in Tokyo on September 29, which is Wales’ second group game.
“We have put a plan together, and I am sticking to that plan and doing everything I possibly can off the pitch to get ready for on the pitch,” Hill said.
“I have got a lot of trust in the physios and strength and conditioning staff, and we will be working pretty hard over the next couple of weeks to do as much as possible to get out of the (medical) boot and back on my feet.
“I know I’ve got a couple of weeks to get fit. I probably haven’t played in a pretty long time, but I am pretty positive.
“We’ve had a pre-season, and I have put a lot of work in over the pre-season, so it’s about keeping that fitness in the bank with some off-feet stuff and then getting back to on feet and topping up.”
Hill, who captained Wales in two Tests against Argentina last year, is an integral part of Gatland’s plans in Japan.
But he admitted there was an element of deflation when scan results on his leg came back.
“It is pretty frustrating,” he added.
“A couple of days before the squad is announced, not having played any pre-season games and two weeks before flying to Japan, and the scan results come back that you have got a stress fracture in your leg.
“At one stage, you think your hopes and dreams are gone.
“I like to think I am pretty positive, but look, we are only human. A little part of you does think ‘potentially, I am pushing my luck here’. I will be as positive as I can, and the physios and the medical staff and the coaches are all positive.
“I am thankful to the management and staff for picking me in the squad. Now I have got to do everything I can to repay that, get back fit as soon as possible and do as much as I can off the field and try and still be involved.
“The coaches have obviously taken a little bit of a gamble knowing I am going to be out for the first game, and potentially won’t train for the first couple of weeks there, but we are lucky we have got Aaron Shingler who can cover second row.
“I am going to spend a few hours this week in the oxygen chamber and do as much as I can.
“We have got a remarkable medical staff here, one of the best in the world, and my trust and faith is in those guys. They will be doing everything they can to push me and get it right.
“They have been known to turn boys around in a short space of time, and that’s the plan, to turn it around as quickly as we possibly can and we will go from there.”