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Sat Feb 2, 2013, 01:44 PM

Billy Twelvetrees plans to put down strong roots on England debut

Not since the heydays of Jeff Butterfield, David Duckham, Jamie Salmon and Will Greenwood have England picked a centre with a surname apparently plucked from Emmerdale or the Archers. If anyone is equipped to chop down some swaying Scots pines at Twickenham, however, it is surely Billy Twelvetrees, son of a tree surgeon from Sussex and the 18th new cap to be chosen by Stuart Lancaster in the past year.

Twelvetrees, naturally enough, will wear No12 in a starting XV containing only two enforced changes to the side that beat New Zealand two months ago. Joe Marler, another son of Sussex, is back at loose-head prop instead of the injured Alex Corbisiero, while Twelvetrees owes his chance to Manu Tuilagi's ankle problem. England expect Tuilagi to be available for next week's game in Ireland, at which point forests of "Twelvetrees axed" headlines will presumably find their way into print.

What happens in the interim, however, will be fascinating. The 24-year-old Gloucester centre is not just any old temporary replacement; in many respects he is exactly the kind of multi-dimensional player Lancaster is seeking as he sets about transforming England into a side capable of winning the 2015 World Cup on home soil.

Twelvetrees stands 6ft 3in, can kick, run, pass and tackle and, if required, thumps over huge penalty goals as well. Not many new caps turn up with such a colourfully broad palette of skills.


I just came across the England-Scotland rugby match on BBC. There is a player for England named "Billy Twelvetrees." That's a great name.

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Reply Billy Twelvetrees plans to put down strong roots on England debut (Original post)
Renew Deal Feb 2013 OP
muriel_volestrangler Feb 2013 #1

Response to Renew Deal (Original post)

Sun Feb 3, 2013, 10:23 PM

1. And he scored a try on his debut


England beat Scotland comfortably (as the form book would expect, but Scotland often play their best against England), Ireland hung on to a good first half lead to beat last year's champions Wales (again, that's what the autumn results predicted) and then, today, Italy beat France - a real surprise, with France the highest rated team in the Six Nations.

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