A YEAR on from making his Test debut Dragons captain Cory Hill is enjoying the increased responsibility that comes with becoming a regular in the Wales squad, writes Jonathan Davies.

The 26-year-old lock made his first appearance on the international scene as a replacement against Australia in the opener of the 2016 autumn series.

And after a 2017 which has seen Hill make his Six Nations bow, become a regional captain at Rodney Parade and even join up with the Lions squad in New Zealand, the forward understands that more is expected of him by from Wales head coach Warren Gatland.

“It’s been pretty hectic over the last year and I’ve enjoyed it, but I’ve definitely got more responsibility this year having become Dragons captain,” he said.

“’Gats’ puts it out that he wants everyone to have an opinion and speak up if you have something to add to the group, so I definitely have more of a voice this year.”

Having come off the bench to win his seventh Welsh cap in the defeat to Australia last weekend, Hill will be hoping that he did enough in his late cameo against the Wallabies to give him a chance from the start against Georgia on Saturday.

“We were pretty pleased with our overall performance and played some nice stuff against Australia,” he said. “But our exiting wasn’t good enough and as a result we let Australia into our 22 and leaked a few tries, so that’s something for us to work on this week.

“With regards to myself all I can do is impress in training off the back of my appearance last week and hopefully get a Test start.”

With Saturday’s opponents being more renowned for their strength and muscle up front than their skill behind the scrum, the Georgians may pose a different threat than the Australians but Hill and his teammates expect an equally tricky game.

“Of course they have a strong forward pack that like to maul and scrum and we will have to match them up front, but they are a still a good side that play nice rugby so we are expecting a tough Test match,” said Hill.

“A lot of the Georgian pack play at a decent standard in France and are very good players, so as forwards it is a pretty good challenge for us, and I know a lot of the boys would like to step up and take that challenge on.”

Tighthead Leon Brown came off the bench to win his first cap against Australia and his fellow Dragons front rower Elliot Dee, a hooker, will hope to follow this autumn.

Their captain Hill believes the promising prospects have earned their call-ups to the Test scene.

“They are two wonderful players who have been in great form this season,” said Hill. “Elliot has been a good player for a few years now but has been unlucky with injuries and Leon is 21 years old but just such a big giant of a man and I think both of them can kick on from here and win a lot more caps.”

With the more experienced Hallam Amos also joining his clubmates in the autumn squad, the Dragons have their best representation in a Welsh squad for some time, something Hill believes signals a bright future for the region.

“It’s nice to have a few Dragons boys in the squad and it’s great to have a bit of a laugh with Hal, Leon and Elliot and obviously Tyler (Morgan) before he got injured,” he said.

“It is massive to have so many players involved and getting more and more boys in the Welsh squad and into Test rugby is only going to improve the region as a whole and hopefully put a few more bums on seats and get everyone driving forward together.”