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Louis Hillman-Cooper on his Premiership debut and becoming the latest Cheltenham College alumnus to play in Cherry and White

Louis Hillman-Cooper made a great impression in his first Premiership appearance, scoring a try when he came on off the bench against Sale.

A member of the Gloucester Rugby Academy, HillmanCooper has been progressing nicely, excelling in the Premiership Rugby Cup opportunities he was given earlier on in the season.

“I was obviously quite nervous sat on the bench. When I got on the pitch, I tried not to big up the occasion too much. It can be quite a daunting thing, but I sort of just threw myself into it and luckily when we got towards their line, Chappers (Charlie Chapman) just hit me with the ball and I just reached out and it came off.”

It was a great try against Sale and Hillman-Cooper firmly believes that it was game time earlier on in the season that helped prepare him for the opportunity.

“I think the Prem Cup is great to be honest. You have a real mixture of senior players and youth. In the Exeter game, I was lucky to play outside Billy Twelvetrees who has been a Gloucester Rugby legend for over 10 years now. “Having that exposure, it really helps you to sort of be well prepared for any opportunity in the Premiership.”

A key part of Hillman-Coopers progression is time spent with first team players and as a centre he has British and Irish Lions and internationals to learn off with the likes of Chris Harris, Mark Atkinson and Billy Twelvetrees all at the club.

"They are brilliant. They are very approachable people. If I put a foot wrong, they’re not shouting at me, they give me little pointers here and there. For me as a young player, I’ve just got to listen and learn, and take it all in. They’ve got a lot of experience behind them and they are all very high level players who are respected massively in the club.

“For me as a young guy coming through, it’s all about trying things and taking onboard what they say.”

Louis Hillman-Cooper went to Cheltenham College which is where his skills were first identified as being good enough to develop at a professional level. With the likes of Ollie Thorley having come through ahead of him, he had a strong role model who has now become a teammate in Cherry and White.

“Thorlo (Ollie Thorley) has been great ever since I came into the environment. He’s not necessarily a centre but he’s always been there, and he’s helped me out massively as well.

“I obviously played a lot with Jack Clement at school and have seen him kick on and do great things. I’m very happy for him and it would be great for me if I could do the same.

“Those guys are brilliant and I’ve also got a mate, Seb Blake, who’s coming through with me so that’s quite nice as well. There’s a good little Cheltenham College bubble in the system.”

In charge of the rugby programme at Cheltenham College are two former Cherry and White players, Olly Morgan and Nick Runciman. It is clear how much of an impact they’ve had on Hillman-Cooper.

“I’ve got a huge amount of time and respect for Olly Morgan and Nick Runciman. I don’t think I’d be where I am if I hadn’t come into contact with those guys. They were brilliant when I was young and I still speak to them today.

“I had Runci when I was 15 to 16 and then Morgs when I was 17 to 18. I think that they were both brilliant at just giving that individual time and attention that you needed. I think that they also gave me a bit of a confidence boost and told me that I should really think about going for it.

“They are very approachable, and I can always talk to them about anything whether it’s rugby related or non-rugby related. They were two very influential blokes on me growing up.”

Hillman-Cooper will be looking forward to his next opportunity to impress in Cherry and White.

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Kingsholm Stadium
Gloucester Rugby
Sat 4 Jun
KO 15:00
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