Danny Cipriani may be stealing the headlines at Gloucester, but it is the main outside him who is the “unsung hero” of the Cherry and Whites’ strong start to the campaign.
Billy Twelvetrees has been Gloucester’s lynch-pin in the Premiership so far, according to boss Johan Ackermann.
Now Gloucester head coach Ackermann is urging England supremo Eddie Jones to take a closer look at Twelvetrees ahead of the World Cup.
Twelvetrees has been slotting his kicks so far this term, as well as being the level-headed foil to Cipriani’s audacious plays.
Twelvetrees, who picked up the last of his 22 caps in 2015, impressed again on Friday in Gloucester’s five-try to win over Bristol, with Jones looking on.
“Billy is the side’s unsung hero at the moment,” Ackermann told me. “He is consistently one of our senior guys who works extremely hard during the week.
“He is very calm, shows good leadership and is extremely fit. His work-rate is tremendous on the field and I don’t always think he gets that recognition.
“He organises a lot in defence and works a lot off the ball. He is really working well with Danny on his inside and he’s really doing well for us at this stage.
“He’s always so professional. He’s always one of the guys who really looks after himself and always one of the last to walk out of the club. It’s very good to have him in our system.”
England boss Jones opted for Owen Farrell, Henry Slade, Piers Francis and Alex Lozowski as his potential inside centres in his August pre-season camp, but Ackermann ardently believes Twelvetrees is worth another look.
Twelvetrees, 29, is filling in at the first-receiver role at times for Gloucester, with Cipriani on occasion being used as a decoy.
“It’s a difficult one. Obviously, I’ll always lean towards the guys that I coach and I do believe Billy’s got the talent and the ability,” says Ackermann.
“But as I’ve said with other players, Eddie has worked with a squad now for two or three years and he’s going to believe in certain guys. For there to be change, only Eddie can do it.
“We’re happy with the way Billy has performed and developed his game in the last year and hopefully it will keep on going.”