The national press may have written off England’s chances in the Rugby World Cup early on but the Diss Express’s faith in local boy made good – Dan Hipkiss – has paid off.
The weekly newspaper on the Norfolk/Suffolk border signed up the England and Leicester Tigers centre to write eight exclusive columns during the tournament.
But any fears that the former Diss RFC youth player might be commenting on the business end of the tournament from the comfort of his home in the Midlands were dispelled by a resurgent England team winning through to Saturday’s final against South Africa.
The former Eye schoolboy has made three appearances off the bench during the World Cup in France, including a crucial 40-minute spell in the second half of last Saturday’s nail-biting semi-final win over the hosts.
He has also been giving an exclusive insight into the preparations of the England camp in France and revealed some of the off the pitch activities he and his team-mates get up to in their free time.
And as well as writing his weekly column ‘The Hipkiss Files’, the paper has also run a ‘Hoorays for Hipkiss’ section, where friends and fans have been posting good luck messages for the 25-year-old.
The feature even temped his England team-mate George Chuter to e-mail in from the team coach.
The Diss Express has kept a close eye on Hipkiss’s formative years at Leicester and this season, in his breakthrough year, took a seat in the Twickenham press box to cover his appearance in the Heineken Cup final against London Wasps and his international debut against Wales in August.