RUGBY: Twelvetrees hopes to cement England place

STUART LANCASTER’S England options in the centres are dropping like flies but Billy Twelvetrees insists he is only getting stronger with the Six Nations around the corner, writes Charlie Talbot-Smith,.

The 25-year-old Gloucester man enjoyed an up and down set of autumn internationals, putting in the worst performance of his England career against Australia but bouncing back to impress against Argentina and the All Blacks.

And with Manu Tuilagi, Joel Tomkins and Brad Barritt all currently stuck on the treatment table, the chance is there for Twelvetrees to carry some momentum into the Six Nations.

Called up to the British & Irish Lions tour this summer as injury cover, it is sometimes hard to remember that Twelvetrees has only eight England caps to his name.

And the No.12 insists he is only going to improve as his international career progresses.

“I’m getting better and better every week,” he said.

“I’m a much more confident player than the one who made his debut against Scotland, and much more knowledgeable.

“There is a possibility there to cement a shirt. But there are a lot of other centres in the country that are going to be thinking the same thing.

“Obviously, there are a lot injuries in the centres and that means that there is a chance for me to grab that place but it would be stupid of me to try and focus too far ahead.

“I was delighted to get my chance in the autumn and I played to the best of my ability and I hope that I get that chance again.”

Twelvetrees and fellow England international Alex Goode recently helped out with Southwark RFC, the only inner-city rugby club in London.

The England duo led a coaching session and also played touch rugby on an urban wasteland in London’s east end as part of SSE’s Floodlight Reward Scheme.

And Twelvetrees, who came through the ranks at his local team Bedford, gave his backing to a scheme that helps to promote the grassroots of the game.

“The SSE floodlight reward scheme is massively important for any local rugby club,” he said.

“Anything that gets more people playing is huge and floodlights are fantastic in that sense. It means people can play and practice at all times of the day and in the inner city as well which is great.

“Any person that has played rugby, including me, has come through grassroots and their local club and they lack a bit of funding.

“Any facilities they can get only makes it better for the individuals and the teams and is great for rugby as a whole.”

Billy Twelvetrees was speaking on behalf of SSE, official community partner of the RFU, which is giving English rugby clubs the opportunity to win a £10,000 portable floodlight. To enter, go to www.SSERugby.com.

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