Diss so proud of Hipkiss connection

VIV THOMAS Former Diss player Dan Hipkiss was part of England's dramatic Rugby World Cup win over France - and will be on the subs' bench for Saturday's final against South Africa.

VIV THOMAS

Former Diss player Dan Hipkiss was part of England's dramatic Rugby World Cup win over France - and will be on the subs' bench for Saturday's final against South Africa.

Hipkiss, 25, came on as a replacement for Josh Lewsey when the try scorer was forced off through injury.

The Leicester Tigers' centre had a good game, impressing many with his commitment and passing.

Lewsey was ruled out of the final early this week and many felt that Hipkiss had earned a place in the starting line-up with his fine semi-final display.

But he was named as a replacement when the team was announced by head coach Brian Ashton yesterday.

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Saturday night's Stade de France showdown - which is being shown live on ITV - will be watched with extra special interest by members of Diss Rugby Club.

This was where Hipkiss learned his rugby, under the watchful eye of his dad, a coach and former England U16 player.

Hipkiss junior was also an international by U16 level and was soon spotted by the Leicester Tigers set-up, being snapped up for their Academy before graduating through to the first team.

Tim Passmore, a referee and officer at Diss RC, said: "The atmosphere is euphoric at the moment, everyone is talking about this.

"Dan was at Diss and it just shows that if you are a good player, and if we ensure that we have a good structure in place, people will get through to the top level.

"That someone who used to play locally has done it, has achieved the pinnacle, is inspirational. It gives people a boost, not just in Diss, but across East Anglia. If a player is passionate, dedicated and shows commitment they can do it too.

"His example shows what can be achieved. It may be that we have other players with us now who will go on to play for England. We are very proud, there is no other word for it, he has done so well," he added.

Hipkiss, who attended Hartismere High School in Eye, only made his England debut in August in the World Cup warm-up game against Wales.