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The opportunities are endless, says new Gloucester skipper Billy Twelvetrees

By The Citizen  |  Posted: August 21, 2014

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Billy Twelvetrees at Gloucester photocall

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New captain Billy Twelvetrees has urged Gloucester to restore Kingsholm as a fortress.

While the England centre led the Cherry and Whites for much of last season in the absence of Tom Savage, he was handed the captain’s armband on a permanent basis last week.

He was “ecstatic” to be given the honour by David Humphreys and has laid down the gauntlet to his players by declaring Castle Grim must become impenetrable again.

Gloucester lost six league matches on home turf and Twelvetrees insists that will not be acceptable as a new era dawns at the club.

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He said: “Making Kingsholm a fortress is massive for us as players, the city itself and the supporters. The players love coming here, the opposition find it difficult and we want to make it a fortress again.

“We didn’t do that last year, it wasn’t good enough and the players will hold their hands up to that but sport is about looking forward and we can’t wait for this next challenge.

“Last year was disappointing but from a playing point of view we learnt a lot. We have licked our wounds and the players who are here really want to kick on.

“We have the building blocks but it’s up to us to push it on. There’s huge potential here, you look at the young guys coming through and then the experience and what they bring.

“We have every potential to do well if we get our heads down. We have great coaches behind us, the detail is going through and as long as we keep learning and taking on the challenges the possibilities are endless.”

But while Twelvetrees is optimistic about the future he has urged patience following a summer of mass upheaval. Even the strapping centre felt like he was starting at a new school when he returned to Hartpury following international duty.

Twenty-six new faces in the playing department and a revamped coaching staff, with only Trevor Woodman surviving, greeted the England ace upon his return.

Such changes naturally require a bedding in period before they bear fruit.

He said: “It’s great for everyone, it’s been like going to a new school, barely recognising some of the coaches and players at first.

“But rugby is the best environment for that kind of thing, we’re training together, socialising and team bonding is the most important thing.

“Everyone has started on a level ground and you need to earn the respect of everyone around you, not just the coaches and supporters.

“It will take time, there’s a new coaching set-up and a lot of new players in key positions. It’s not going to happen straight away and we have to be patient and believe in what we are doing as a squad.

“It’s very exciting that we have a great group of coaches who are very enthusiastic.

“There’s a lot of hard work to be done, we have to be honest and do what we need to do to be the best we can.”

Twelvetrees is set to start against Munster on Saturday and he is relishing the opportunity to play alongside some of the club’s stellar summer signings, none more so than James Hook.

“It’s awesome to have his sort of calibre of player coming to Gloucester,” Twelvetrees said.

“I’m really looking forward to playing alongside him, it’s been great over the last few weeks in training, you learn stuff from him straight away and it’s great to have his experience there.

“It’s the same with a lot of the other guys coming in, there’s a lot of talent and a lot of hard graft will be put in.

“There’s now good competition in every single position and you need that in the Premiership. It’s great for the standards we’re setting, nobody knows what the team’s going to be and that brings the best out of individuals.”

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  • RoccoAgain85  |  September 28 2014, 11:24AM

    This is all well and good but, when it comes to Gloucester Rugby, what the club should have done last season was to ensure that Rupҽrt Hardҽn, our first choice and most talented tight head prop, started as many games for Gloucester as was possible.

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