- Billy Twelvetrees’ only post-match interview with RFUtv
- Centre made 18 tackles in 13-10 victory over Ireland
Billy Twelvetrees lauded the collective resolve of the young England team he is becoming such a key component of after the nerve-shredding defeat of Ireland at Twickenham Stadium.
Danny Care’s wonderful second-half try capped a performance of passion and intensity as England denied Joe Schmidt’s side the Triple Crown and remained on course for a clean sweep of the Home Nations for the first time since 2003
While the last points of the game arrived in the 58th minute, the absorbing action did not abate with crucial tackles, scrums and mauls as the game hung in the balance. Closing out the 13-10 victory clearly meant a lot to the 25 year-old, given the context of recent narrow losses to France and New Zealand.
“There is huge belief in this team and a lot of intent, we want to go out and play good rugby,” said the Gloucester Rugby man after emerging from the dressing room. “The boys were fighting for each other and working really hard. That showed in the last few minutes with Joe Launchbury’s tap-tackle on Dave Kearney going down the wing.
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“That’s the workrate and desire of the boys, we want to play as well as we can for England and show how much it means to us. It was a very physical game with a lot going on but I thought the boys were terrific, we could have gone into our shells after Ireland scored but we stayed composed and got straight back in the game.
“It was an amazing atmosphere and the crowd were definitely behind us. They gave us the extra edge in the last five minutes when Ireland were giving it everything. We’re thankful we got over the line and got the victory.”
Twelvetrees put in a considerable shift of his own. With the big hits flying throughout the end-to-end game, the former Leicester man completed 18 tackles (the most in the back division) and carried nine times with bruising physicality.
Admitting it is hard to reflect on one’s own performance so close to the final whistle, Twelvetrees preferred to focus on the boost this victory will give the side with Wales the next visitors to Twickenham on Sunday, March 9.
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Eyeing the Triple Crown, he said: “It was a big win for our morale. [Beating Ireland] would be good anyway but after the loss at the start of the campaign against France and a good win against Scotland we wanted to come home and get a good win against a very good Irish team which has started the tournament very well.
“We want to be a championship side, we want to be winning things. We’re not going to shy away from that and with Wales coming to Twickenham it is a huge game, especially after last year. We can’t wait for it; we’ve got good momentum and huge belief in ourselves.”
The sense in the crowd, which delivered one of the loudest Swing Low renditions of recent times as the clock ticked down, was that they had witnessed a truly captivating sporting contest. Twelvetrees said that was the feeling on the pitch too and outlined the immense respect which exists between the two sides.
“Sport brings up these results all the time and I’ve been on the end of so many of the wrong ones but also the right,” he concluded. “You enjoy [the narrow wins] that bit more because that’s what is so great about rugby, two teams going hammer and tongs at each other.
"There is a lot of respect out there between the two teams, winning at the end is awesome but you can still go into the changing rooms afterwards and speak to the Irish boys, who were very gracious in defeat, as we would be too.”