- Twelvetrees impressed with Nick Walshe in new attack coach role
- Gloucester skipper says youngsters can thrive at Kingsholm
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Billy Twelvetrees says Nick Walshe and a quartet of Junior World Championship-winners have provided a refreshing influence during Gloucester Rugby’s pre-season and believes all five will contribute significantly over the Aviva Premiership campaign.
Walshe arrived at Kingsholm this summer after guiding England Under 20 to a second consecutive global crown in New Zealand, immediately bringing in scrum half Callum Braley and wing Henry Purdy.
They joined a stable of former age-group internationals, including teammates Billy Burns and Ross Moriarty – who started at fly half and blindside flanker respectively in June’s 21-20 final defeat of South Africa.
Having been named club captain for 2014/5, Twelvetrees was extremely complimentary of the new additions – beginning with new Director of Rugby David Humphreys’ diligent attack coach.
“Walshie’s been great,” said the England centre, whose side have warmed up for the imminent domestic term with heavy successes over Yorkshire Carnegie (62-19) and Munster Rugby (45-8). “I was lucky enough to be coached by him for a year at Bedford and I learned a lot.
“He’s not been scared of coming in straight away and driving standards – telling people when they aren’t doing as well as they should be.
“He’s making our skills sharper already, which is making us better players. That’s exactly what you need from an attack coach.”
Assessing Braley, Burns, Purdy and Moriarty in turn, each of whom is 20 years old, the enthusiasm continued.
“What’s really good about the youngsters coming in is that they are driving the standards themselves,” Twelvetrees added.
“That way, they really show you what they are about. They’ve not been shy, they’ve just come in and cracked on. They just want to do well for the club and get selected.
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“I hadn’t heard much about Callum while he was at Bristol, but I’ve been really impressed. Billy is extremely talented, which I found out in the games we played together last year.
“Henry has been at Leicester Tigers, so you know exactly what you are getting. He’s very strong, solid and runs aggressive lines.
“This has been Ross’ first full pre-season. We all knew about him last year because he trained with us. He hits people extremely hard and is an abrasive character. Gloucester were all about that in the past and we want that to come out again.”
With 14 caps since a try-scoring Test debut against Scotland in the 2013 RBS 6 Nations, Twelvetrees is considered a key leadership figure within Stuart Lancaster’s senior set-up, assuming prominent roles in attacking and defensive strategy.
And while he explained his captaincy style as something of a democracy, it was clear that each Gloucester player would have the chance to develop.
“It’s nice to have different attributes to each player in the squad – that is what you want in a way. It’s a huge honour to captain every man in that team, and to be there to offer advice is awesome.
“I’m sure I’ll be asking them questions too, because they are all great rugby players – if they weren’t, they wouldn’t be here.”