‘Goal is to win the shield,’ SaberCats’ Sam Hill moved from England to pursue championship

May 17, 2024 | Uncategorized

By Aaron Wilson

Sam Hill traveled across the Atlantic Ocean in pursuit of a championship, and a change of pace.
After playing professional rugby in England for the Exeter Chiefs and Sale Sharks, the veteran center didn’t hesitate when director Heyneke Meyer approached him about the opportunity to join the SaberCats.
In his heart, Hill knew it was time for something different.
“I was playing in England in Essex since age 17, and I had come to the point where I stopped enjoying it so much playing in the same league,” Hill, 30, said. “It got repetitive. I kind of lost that passion. I always wanted to play abroad. The last two offseasons of my career in England, I came to America on holiday and visited Austin and I loved it. I thought if something ever came up, I would jump at the chance.
“A few of my friends have played for the San Diego Legion. They loved it and always said good things about their experiences. It was a no-brainer. and I was excited to get the chance. Now, the goal is to win the shield.”
Hill attended Cheriton Bishop Primary School and Queen Elizabeth’s Community College, playing for Crediton RFC before being selected for England juniors and at Ivybridge College.
Before going pro, he spent time with the Cornish Pirates and the England Saxons.
He scored his first Major League Rugby try in the SaberCats’ 29-24 road victory over the Utah Warriors.
“It was good, it was an easy run and a good pass to me,” Hill said. “Nevertheless, I was really happy to go over the line. It was a tight game and every point counts.”
The 9-1 SaberCats have built a strong winning culture.
After winning a franchise-record 10 matches last season, they’re one win away from tying that mark.
They’re aiming for their third consecutive trip to the playoffs.
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“Guys are obviously really happy with how it’s going,” Hill said. “There have been some really tough games and we’ve dug out some really good wins. It comes down to hard work and culture and everyone working together as a team. I’ve seen how close the guys are.
“I didn’t know what to expect coming over here, but it’s a very close-knit group. In a short space, the guys have all become really close and we spend a lot of time together. It makes a huge difference.”
The SaberCats are led by director Heyneke Meyer and coach Pote Human, two longtime colleagues with a vast amount of rugby experience.
“One-hundred percent, the staff has been great,” Hill said. “There’s a great balance here between knowing when to work hard and also have time to relax and when to have a joke with the boys. It all comes from the top with guys who have been around and have experience in the highest levels of the sport.”