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RBS 6 Nations: Ireland pinpoint Billy Twelvetrees as pivotal attacking cog

By The Citizen  |  Posted: February 18, 2014

RBS 6 Nations: Ireland pinpoint Gloucester's Billy Twelvetrees as pivotal attacking cog

BILLY Twelvetrees has been pinpointed as the pivotal cog in England’s attacking game.

The Gloucester centre has established himself in Stuart Lancaster’s midfield this season and has played every minute of England’s RBS 6 Nations campaign to date.

And Ireland assistant coach Les Kiss reckons Twelvetrees is integral to Stuart Lancaster’s attacking game-plan and provides a New Zealand-style playmaking alternative.

Kiss said: “He has developed that nice, organised mindset in his game very well.”

"He's like a New Zealand second-five eighth, and does facilitate what they are trying to achieve in attack and offers them the ability to go both sides of the ruck, and so do (Jack) Nowell and (Mike) Brown and even (Jonny) May.

"It keeps you alive across the field, and I think Twelvetrees' game is critical for that, because it helps (Owen) Farrell as well.

"They have a really solid, organised approach to their attack," said Kiss. "And that allows the brilliance of some of their individuals to come to the fore.

"Young Jack Nowell for example has been encouraged to throw himself into different moments of the game.

"That may look a little unstructured, but they set that part of it up, even Danny Care having a dart here and there.

"And a lot of their organisation comes through Farrell, orchestrating the shape from 10, to their movement.

"And when you've got guys like Twelvetrees, Brown and May there, they can shift their game when they need to.

"They will eek out or look for the weaknesses and mismatches in your defence, so we just need to have our heads-up this week, that's for sure."

Meanwhile Kiss has dismissed any fears over Brian O’Driscoll after the veteran centre sat out training due to a bug and revealed Donnacha Ryan is in contention for a return to action.

He added: “Brian has a slight little bug, but he will be fine for Thursday. We're just managing it now, so we expect him to be fully fine by Thursday. He's not feeling the best put it that way.

"Paul's [O'Connell] actually flying through his markers there, which is a big plus. We expect everything to be in a good place. It's great to see Donnacha back, he's come back in and trained the house down.

"He's a definite option; we've just got to consider everything, and what our stocks are in that area, but it's certainly timely for him to be back after Dan Tuohy's injury.

"Probably some pluses with Donnacha are that he's worked a lot with Paul in terms of the line-out, and the calling systems are not too far removed in terms of that type of transfer, so that knowledge is a plus.

"In terms of the defensive and attack changes we've made since Joe's come along, he's got to get his head around those pretty quickly, but Donnacha's a smart boy.”

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