CORY Hill is hungry to win back the Wales’ 4 jersey at the World Cup, but the Dragons captain will happily accept a role as Warren Gatland’s supersub as a consolation prize.

The 27-year-old lock has been a mainstay of Gatland’s squad since his surprise Test call-up because of injuries in November, 2016.

Hill has featured in 24 of 32 games since his debut against Australia, was co-captain on the summer tour to Argentina last year and played in 17 successive Tests until a cut knee prevented him from playing in the Six Nations win in Italy.

He returned to the XV the following round against England and was to the fore in the third part of Wales’ Grand Slam, impressing against the Lions duo of George Kruis and Courtney Lawes before crossing for the key try in the title showdown with Eddie Jones’ side.

However, he suffered an ankle injury when powering over the line in Cardiff and sat out the final two rounds against Scotland and Ireland, with Adam Beard starting alongside talisman Alun Wyn Jones and Jake Ball coming off the bench.

Getting back into the matchday 23 is Hill’s aim, ideally as a starter after backing up Beard in the November Tests against Australia, Tonga and South Africa plus the Six Nations opener in Paris.

“I spoke to Warren in the autumn and it was about creating squad depth and giving opportunities, which Adam took,” said Hill.

“I was stuck on the bench but making a decent impact when I came on, which the coaches were pretty happy about.

“Then I came on against France in the Six Nations and made a decent impact along with the others who were on the bench and it was nice to secure that win in a tight one.

“I’ve always been told to never do a bad job well… unfortunately I did a few times! But it is just great to be involved. When a squad gets named you want to be starting but if you aren’t then you want to be on that bench.

“It’s just great to be in that 23 and every time Warren reads your name out you get tingles. It’s always special to run out onto that pitch with the three feathers on.

“But every player wants to be starting and is fighting for that jersey, so it was nice to come back for the England game.”

Hill has been training at Wales’ Vale Resort headquarters as preparations for the World Cup start to ramp up.

Gatland named five specialist locks in his 42-strong training squad for Japan 2019 with Jones a shoo-in for Japan with Hill and Beard in pole position.

That would leave Ball attempting to hold off the challenge of fellow bruiser Bradley Davies.