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Return of the King will give Gloucester the perfect defensive workout

By The Citizen  |  Posted: August 28, 2014

By Mike Brown @citizen_rugby

Billy Twelvetrees dives over for a try against Munster

Billy Twelvetrees dives over for a try against Munster

Billy Twelvetrees expects a formidable defensive challenge from the Scarlets on Saturday and has pinpointed Regan King as the main threat.

The England centre is once again set to line up alongside Henry Trinder as the Cherry and Whites play their final pre-season friendly ahead of their Premiership kick-off against Northampton Saints.

Twelvetrees was pleased with last week’s 45-8 victory over Munster but hopes the Welsh region will stretch their defence with their returning King from Clermont Auvergne to the fore.

He said: “Munster was good but if we are totally honest we probably didn’t get tested as much as we would have liked to have done.

“Defensively we would have liked to have been challenged more but I’m sure the Scarlets will do that.

“They are a very good team in terms of their structure, they don’t muck around too much in their half and get rid of the ball, they will challenge our breakdown and then they have a lot of dangerous backs with Regan King, who is a very talented player, back as well.

“If he plays he will be very influential and that will be a good test for our back line. When he was there in the past he was very good for them.

“He’s a really talented individual and they have a good set of half-backs (Gareth Davies and Rhys Priestland) who are very dangerous as well.

“But as long as we concentrate on ourselves and get our set-piece and basics going well we will be okay.”

Both sides are expected to field near to first choice teams for the Parc y Scarlets clash and Twelvetrees knows Gloucester must be more clinical in west Wales.

They blew a number of first-half chances against Munster, mainly due to over exuberance and pre-season rust.

But as the clock ticks towards their September 5, date with the reigning champions he insists they must become more conservative and fine tune their attacking game.

He added: ““There was a lot of structure against Munster, the boys were looking fit and the main thing at this time of year is getting the boys up to speed.

“The boys have been working incredibly hard and the forwards are the guys that have come in and adapted. When replacements came off the bench they maintained that standard.

“It’s always nice to see a few rolling mauls going over and a few scrums as well – that’s the way Gloucester used to play.

“In these trial games you can afford to take a few chances, it’s the time to really test ourselves physically and mentally.

“But when it comes to the Premiership it’s a different kettle of fish but I’m sure the boys will be ready.

“It’s the week before the season starts so now it’s about making sure those structures are right and fine tuning and really testing ourselves before Saints.”

After camping in Dartmoor on Tuesday night and taking part in team building exercises the Gloucester squad have returned their focus to rugby. They are preparing for the Scarlets encounter at Woodbury Park in Exeter.

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