Twelvetrees ready to answer England's call
January 10, 2013
Billy Twelvetrees in action for the England Saxons © Getty Images
The 24-year-old was one of two uncapped players named by coach Stuart Lancaster in the 33-man party and Twelvetrees now faces the sizeable task of breaking into the England side that is still riding the crest of the wave following their memorable win over the All Blacks in December.
Saracens' Brad Barritt and Leicester's Manu Tuilagi were the chosen partnership for that day but Twelvetrees, who has shone for Gloucester this season after agreeing to a pre-season switch from the Leicester Tigers, is adamant that he can help improve this current team.
"It has always been a dream of mine to be in the England squad and play for England," Twelvetrees said. "To officially be in the squad is fantastic news. You look around the squad at the quality of players we have and where we could go; it is important we kick on now into the Six Nations, not as a stepping stone but in terms of winning things.
"I am sure I can really help this England side and push Brad [Barritt], who has been at the top of his game for a while. He is a very good player. I have got to be consistent playing for Gloucester and really take my chance in the training week before the Six Nations to express myself. I am in the squad for a reason but now I have to push forward."
Twelvetrees, who can also play at fly-half, was hailed as the "perfect 12" by his club's director of rugby Nigel Davies earlier this season and England assistant coach Andy Farrell has been similarly impressed.
"He's got talent across the board really. I've been very impressed with him," Farrell said. "He is big boy, Billy, a big boy with a big presence. He has all the tricks of the trade that a 10 and a ball-playing 12 could have, but he is developing the balance of a game that you need to play at 12 in international football.
"If you look at the Leicester game a couple of weeks ago, there were a few coming down his channel and he was aggressive. He got stuck in, stood up for himself and showed a different aspect to his game. We have seen him develop massively. We're interested to see if he can step up to international football and translate that form he has shown for Gloucester."
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
The latest Week in Pictures takes in all the action from the weekend when rugby united behind Samoa
England broke their losing streak, but this was not them clawing their way back among the best, writes Tom Hamilton
Wales were just 13 minutes from a famous victory, but the lessons to be learned in defeat are almost exactly the same as those from previous near-misses, writes Huw Richards
Ahead of England's clash with Samoa, Scrum Sevens takes a wander down memory lane and celebrates seven examples of Pacific Islands magic