- Billy Twelvetrees reviews England’s victory over Argentina with RFUtv
- “The boys really wanted it this week and it paid dividends with the tries” – Twelvetrees
Modest Billy Twelvetrees felt a sense of redemption after his fine try helped England to a 31-12 victory against Argentina in the second QBE International at Twickenham Stadium.
Disappointed with, and self-critical of, his performance in previous weekend’s win against Australia – the centre was at fault for a missed tackle which led to Matt Toomua’s try – Twelvetrees took it on himself to improve and was quietly proud of the results.
Known for smooth distribution off both hands and clear communication from inside centre, the 24 year-old’s second Test try owed more to brute force and sheer determination, barrelling through three would-be Pumas tacklers to touch down.
“I apologised to Fodes [Ben Foden] straight afterwards because I think I should’ve given the ball over the top and he would’ve had a walk-in,” said Twelvetrees with a wide grin. “So if I hadn’t scored it would’ve been a bit of a nightmare but luckily I got over and I was pleased with it.
Photo: Getty Images
“There were a lot more opportunities to get on the ball [compared to Australia] and from our point of view, we got ourselves in the game a bit better. It’s up to us to get into the game and use the ball. The boys really wanted it this week and it paid dividends with the tries.
“I was critical of my own performance in the week. Every professional sportsman wants to be the best he can every week. I was disappointed last week but I put it to bed straightaway and worked hard in the week with the boys around me and the coaches to put it right.”
Twelvetrees’ excellent finish was bookended by a first Test score for Joe Launchbury and an 18th try in international rugby for Chris Ashton as England’s pack overran their much vaunted opposite numbers in the first half.
England drive and intensity dropped in the second 40 minutes – replacement Ben Morgan’s try was the only England score of the half – and while that is a concern, Twelvetrees was more interested in concentrating on the all-action display before the break.
Praising the forwards for their dominant performance, he said: “The lineout was good and gave us a good platform, the driving maul was really effective and when you get those things in place and we’re clinical behind them it gives you good go forward as a team.
“When the forwards carry well in general play it’s really helpful as well. The forwards and backs are linking really well at the moment and that confidence is really there to play some good rugby.
“We spoke at half time to keep the tempo up. It was something that disappointed us a bit in the second half, we weren’t as good as we wanted to be but credit to Argentina, they really stepped it up physically and made a nuisance of the lineout and the scrum and at the breakdown they slowed it down, which always makes it difficult. We’ve got a lot of things to work on but overall I think we can be pretty pleased with it.”
Photo: Getty Images
Head Coach Stuart Lancaster has given the players Monday morning off ahead of the clash with the All Blacks on Saturday, a hint that mentality is as important as technical and tactical preparation in advance of meeting the world champions.
New Zealand will be intent on reversing last year’s record 38-21 defeat – their only loss in the last 33 Test matches – but Twelvetrees says the belief is there that England can repeat that magnificent victory.
He added: “We’ve beaten an incredibly good Australia side at home despite not being as good as we can be and now a very strong Argentina side who have a great pack. We put them to the sword in the first half if we’re honest.
We’ve confident to have two from two in this autumn series. We’ve set goals for ourselves and another one next week is to beat New Zealand.
“The belief is there, that was proven last year, proven throughout the summer and proven this autumn so far. The boys believe it; it’s about doing it on the pitch. We’ll be quietly confident, we’ll rest up, work hard in the week and look forward to a big game.”