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Gloucester Rugby: Billy Twelvetrees will return to lead Cherry and Whites against Exeter Chiefs

By The Citizen  |  Posted: March 27, 2014

Billy Twelvetrees will return to lead Cherry and Whites against Exeter Chiefs

BILLY Twelvetrees will return to captain Gloucester in their Aviva Premiership clash with Exeter Chiefs on Saturday.

The England star took centre-stage during the Six Nations but missed a return to club action against Newcastle Falcons due to a knee injury.

But following an extra week’s break, Twelvetrees has been given the all clear and will line-up against the Chiefs, while fellow Red Roses Ben Morgan and Jonny May are also set to start at Sandy Park.

Nigel Davies said: “We felt Newcastle was a bit too early for Billy. He picked up an injury to his knee, a cut which wasn’t healing.

“He’s played a lot of rugby not only for us but England and we just felt he needed a week off.

“But he’s come back and has been great – he will lead the team this week.

“He’s re-energised after having that break and I’m sure we’ll see that on the weekend.”

Dan Robson and Tom Savage are both unavailable for the trip down the M5 but the scrum-half’s hamstring injury is not as severe as first feared.

However Savage, who was recovering from a torn pectoral muscle, has suffered a set-back after picking up a knee injury.

The Devon outfit have triumphed on the last two occasions the West Country rivals have clashed in the league.

They inflicted a humiliating 29-12 defeat on the Cherry and Whites at Kingsholm in October and snatched the spoils with a last minute kick on the final day of last season.

But Davies insists Saturday’s encounter is not about revenge or redemption but Gloucester doing themselves justice.

They capitulated in the final quarter of their bonus-point victory over Newcastle Falcons and were fortunate not to pay the price for conceding 26 points in the final 18 minutes.

Gloucester are now looking up the table, with just two-points separating the two sides and the added incentive of a potential European play-off for the team that finishes seventh.

Davies said: “They came here in October and put in a good performance but it’s not about owing them one it’s about us making sure we get ourselves right.

“They’re usually tight games but they have also been pretty open affairs, both sides are capable of scoring tries and both teams are eager to play rugby, get the ball and hold onto it.

“After the performance last weekend I very much doubt complacency will step in again.

“Even now it’s a bit of a head-scratcher how we went from being so dominant in a game to really being on the back food in the remaining 15 minutes.

“But we’re very focussed, Exeter have a great reputation, they play a good brand of rugby and they’re well respected but they are just two points separating us and there’s a big opportunity on the weekend.

“That (Europe) in itself is hugely significant but more so what we have decided as a group for the rest of the season.”

Rob Baxter’s men clinched their first piece of silverware with the LV=Cup earlier this month but were brought crashing back down to earth with a bang by Leicester Tigers who inflicted a 45-15 defeat last weekend.

Davies reckons Exeter, who will be without England starlet Jack Nowell, suffered from a cup hangover but he is under no illusions that they will be a very different animal on Saturday.

He added: “They’ve had a tough period in the cup where they were playing through a couple of weeks which we had off.

“On the back of winning the LV=Cup they probably relaxed a little bit and Leicester is never an easy place to go.

“It was a bit of a wake-up call for them and I’m, sure we’ll see a different Exeter this weekend.”

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