DIRECTOR of rugby Alan Solomons is adamant that the academy is the key to success as Worcester Warriors search for future stars.

This came after the news that Ted Hill was called up to the England Six Nations squad which provided the perfect example for how the Warriors want to do things.

“It’s a fantastic example. He has been a regular part of the team," Solomons said.

“He has made it all the way through Worcester and now to the England squad.

"From 17 playing at school and then from the academy to the Warriors squad and now England playing squad.

"It’s fantastic.

“Our vision of the club is to build it through the medium of our academy.

"We place a lot of importance on our young players.

“What is important is that they see it through the team.

"They see players coming through the academy into the senior squad and then even Ted to England.”

Whilst Hill is the obvious stand-out academy graduate, there are plenty in line to make the step up to great things.

Luke Scully was named in the Wales squad for the Under 20 Six Nations tournament and players like Ollie Lawrence have been involved at age-grade international level.

“We have other youngsters,” Solomons added.

“We have some really good young players and I think it’s important for them to see that someone like Ted can go through the ranks and reach the top so it’s a great example for them.

“They see the vision of the club and they see it progressing.

"I do not want any young player to leave this club.

"I want them to stay here at Worcester.”

Worcester have signed the majority of their young prospects to lengthy contracts in recent months in an attempt to build a side for years to come.

Tom Howe and Caleb Montgomery both renewed their contracts last week, adding to a host of other youngsters over the festive period.

Fly-half Scully made his Wales under 20s debut in the 17-7 defeat by Italy in the Six Nations opener at the Zipworld Stadium, Colwyn Bay, on Friday.

Scully missed the chance to play in last season’s Six Nations because of injury but got his first cap against Italy when he came on as a 75th-minute replacement for Leicester’s Sam Costelow.

Costelow scored all of Wales’ points with an early try which he also converted but Italy hit back with a try from Matteo Drudi and four penalties from Paolo Garbisi.

Scully, who is in his second year on the Warriors academy, has been in sparkling form for Cavaliers in the Premiership Rugby Shield this season but Italy had already opened up a 10-point lead before Wales brought him on.

Meanwhile, Warriors’ number eight Cornell du Preez made his international return after a two-year absence in Scotland’s 19-12 defeat by Ireland at the Aviva Stadium in their Guinness Six Nations opener on Saturday.

Du Preez won his seventh cap but his first since he joined Warriors from Edinburgh in the summer of 2018 as a 72nd-minute replacement.

Scotland were only four points down at that stage but Jonny Sexton immediately kicked a penalty to stretch Ireland’s lead and although du Preez carried strongly in the closing stages Scotland could not breach a solid defence.

Du Preez’s international return came just 17 months after he suffered a fractured larynx on his Warriors debut against Wasps at Sixways.