LAST time Wales triumphed at Twickenham Cory Hill was raising more than the odd glass to toast victory. This afternoon the Dragons captain will be in the thick of it as he hunts the perfect birthday present.

Warren Gatland's men have lost their last three meetings with the English since the World Cup victory that saw the end of the Stuart Lancaster era with Eddie Jones taking over the reins.

While the large contingent of Wales fans toasted that September, 2015 victory in Richmond, Hill was celebrating in the rather less salubrious setting of Butlin's in Minehead on a jolly boys' outing.

Back then the lock was trying to establish himself in the Dragons boilerhouse, fast forward two years and he is an 11-times capped forward who is part of the Wales leadership group alongside Alun Wyn Jones, Ken Owens, Justin Tipuric, Dan Biggar, Taulupe Faletau and Scott Williams.

It's a sign of the 26-year-old from Pontypridd now being an international regular but Hill, typically, is reluctant to blow his own trumpet.

"As a captain of your region I suppose you come with a bit of a tag of leadership," he said. "If you take responsibility to be captain of your region you've got to be seen as a leader.

"Then coming into this environment is a step up again and I've been lucky to have had a couple of years here now and I am really enjoying it.

"It's an honour to be in there because the boys voted for it, but it's just part of parcel of the job."

Nonetheless, Hill has made great strides since a surprise call-up because of a glut of injuries for the 2016 autumn series.

For the second week running he has been picked ahead of 58-times capped Bradley Davies to partner talisman Jones in the second row.

"When I first came in here I was 24 and I was still quite young for a lock, so there was still a lot of [room for] development there," said Hill.

"Being an international environment with world class coaches, world-class players, you're always going to develop as a player.

"Playing along Alun Wyn brings your game along massively and learning off the likes of Luke Charteris, Bradley Davies has brought me on huge amounts.

"Hopefully I can keep kicking on, learning off these guys and keep taking the game to the next level."

Hill is attempting to build on his best Test performance after impressing against Scotland, working hard in the tight but also flourishing with ball in hand, notably showing coolness under pressure in the block play for Leigh Halfpenny's first try.

"I'd like to think I'm a natural footballer in the front five," said Hill, who passed the return to play protocols after being forced off with a head injury approaching the hour against the Scots.

"I'm not 6ft 8ins and I'm not 125 kilos, so when you come in you've all got your traits and handling is something I like to do.

"I was lucky enough to be in the right position at the right time last weekend and throw a couple of nice balls and get talked about a bit."

But it's Hill work at the set piece that will be tested against a hefty English pack that features Joe Launchbury and Maro Itoje in the second row with lock Courtney Lawes in the back row and Lion George Kruis on the bench.

That aerial prowess will put the Dragons man – the lineout caller – under pressure.

"I am used to it in regional rugby and have done it with Wales on numerous occasions now so I am pretty comfortable," he said.

"England work a lot at set piece and are very organised at the scrum and lineout. We know that we will have to be on the money and have worked on it all week, so we are looking forward to it.

"We know England, they have a massive forward pack, a lot of good ball carriers and like a driving maul, so we are going to have to make sure we tighten that area and make sure they get nothing out of it."

Do that and Hill will certainly have earned his birthday drink.