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Hipkiss trusts traditional Tigers routine

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Tigers centre Dan Hipkiss may have made his international debut in front of 66,000 people on Saturday, but the 25-year-old put his trust in the same pre-match routine he uses week-in-week-out with Leicester.

Hipkiss stuck to tried and tested methods as he played his part in a nine-try demolition of Gareth Jenkins' Wales that saw England record their biggest ever win over their neighbours from the Principality.

"I stuck to the same routine that I use at Leicester," said Hipkiss. "I tried to do exactly the same things as if I were at Tigers, from the sprint drills to the warm-up. I ran out and did the same things but instead of it being Sam Vesty I was passing to, it was Matt Tait.

"It's hard to stay calm because that's all that's on your mind leading up to the game but it gets easier the closer you get to kick-off. Once the game got started and I got into the pattern of calling the defence, making a few decisions and chatting to the guys out there, I felt ok."

Hipkiss also revealed that the experiences he has gained with Tigers, particularly as a youngster, helped ease the transition from club to international rugby, as did the messages of support he received from former Leicester and England stars.

"I'm lucky that I played with Martin Johnson, Neil Back and Graham Rowntree when I was a 19-year-old and you learn very quickly that you've got to put their reputations to one side. If you don't, you can get inhibited and that is the worst thing you can do when you're trying to play your natural game. They are big names in the sport but you have really got to treat them like just another player. You just can't afford to get intimidated by them and think that they are any better than you.

"I also chatted to Graham and got a text from Austin Healey which really helped me. They told me to try and stay clam and treat it like any other game."

Hipkiss will now hope that he will get another chance to adopt that mindset next Saturday when England take on France at RFU HQ, with head coach Brian Ashton set to announce his matchday 22 on Tuesday, August 7.