Hill's injury nightmare ends to give Woodward timely boost

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The Independent Online

There was a glimmer of good news yesterday for Sir Clive Woodward as the day for British and Irish Lions selection draws nearer - Richard Hill made a trouble-free comeback for Saracens A team on Monday night.

There was a glimmer of good news yesterday for Sir Clive Woodward as the day for British and Irish Lions selection draws nearer - Richard Hill made a trouble-free comeback for Saracens A team on Monday night.

Hill played the first half of the A League fixture against Gloucester at Kingsholm, ending six frustrating months on the sidelines, which had included extensive reconstructive surgery on his left knee. "There is still a lot of hard work to be done in terms of regaining my match fitness," said Hill, "but last night was another step forward."

There is an outside chance that Hill could be on the bench for Sunday's Premiership match at Wasps, although the following weekend's match against Leicester is a more likely target.

Saracens have signed the Leeds scrum-half Alan Dickens on a year's contract from the start of next season.

The Premiership also had a boost with Guinness agreeing a four-year £20m sponsorship deal from the start of next season.

Northampton have been dealt a double injury blow. Their Scotland prop Tom Smith has fractured a bone in his left hand and will be out for four to six weeks. Andrew Blowers has concussion and misses Saturday's Premiership visit to Bath.

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