England keep faith with Twelvetrees
November 5, 2013
Billy Twelvetrees will retain his place for the forthcoming Test against Argentina © Getty Images
England head coach Stuart Lancaster has given Billy Twelvetrees a vote of confidence by revealing he will be retained for Saturday's Test against Argentina.
Twelvetrees' place in the starting XV was under threat after he struggled within a misfiring centre partnership alongside Joel Tomkins in the weekend's 20-13 victory over Australia. He was at fault for the Wallabies' try after being brushed aside by Matt Toomua and conceded two penalties under pressure.
Northampton's Luther Burrell has been the Premiership's form centre and is pressing Twelvetrees hard, but Lancaster refused to wield the axe on the strength of one display.
"Billy is disappointed with one or two areas of his game, but a lot of areas were pretty good," Lancaster said. "We have to give him credit for that. We'll make the decision over the next 24-48 hours, but I'm not envisaging too many changes.
"There is definitely scope to make changes. Luther Burrell and Kyle Eastmond are obvious inside centre options and Henry Trinder an outside centre option. But Billy's done pretty well for us and deserves another chance I think."
Tomkins also endured a mixed afternoon on his debut, but Lancaster did not to judge the pairings on one display while accepting there is work to be done in the combination.
"They didn't have a huge amount of opportunities," he said. "I know Billy's a bit disappointed about missing his tackle, but overall he had a solid game. Joel did well in his first international. There's definitely more in us and we feel we can improve in that area, but overall it's pretty positive."
There is good news with Alex Corbisiero set to return against Argentina after recovering from his knee injury. If, as expected, he starts Mako Vunipola will be relegated to the bench even though he impressed against the Wallabies.
Lock Geoff Parling has been given the all-clear from the concussion incurred in training last week and is available for selection.
Although Argentina have struggled both on and off the field, Lancaster refused to regard them as an easy opposition.
"Having played Argentina in the summer, we found them pretty difficult to break down, particularly in the second Test," he said. "Their performances in the Rugby Championship have shown that on their day they can push the top two or three teams in the world very close.
"We'll take them on merit and give them the credit they deserve as a proud rugby playing nation. But we won't concentrate on Argentina until the end of the week."
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