Aviva Premiership
Twelvetrees linked with Gloucester move
ESPNscrum Staff
January 21, 2012
Leicester's Billy Twelvetrees sprints with the ball, Leicester Tigers v London Wasps, Aviva Premiership, Welford Road, Leicester, England, January 7, 2012
Billy Twelvetrees could be on his way to Gloucester © Getty Images

Leicester Tigers centre Billy Twelvetrees is on the brink of signing for Gloucester, according to reports.

The 23-year-old's current deal with Leicester expires in the summer and he has been in negotiations with the Tigers in recent weeks. However, the England Saxons star reportedly informed Leicester's director of rugby Richard Cockerill this week that he was likely to agree a contract with Gloucester instead.

Twelvetrees, who was called up to England's latest Saxons squad, has featured in 13 games for the Tigers this season and take on a prominent role in recent months following injuries to fly-half Toby Flood and inside centre Anthony Allen. But he remains behind last season's players' player of the year Allen in the pecking order for his preferred position of inside centre.

A move to Kingsholm could secure him a regular run in the No.12 jersey - which would bolster his international ambitions - with the doubts over the futures of Gloucester midfielders Mike Tindall and Eliota Fuimaono-Sapolu.

Cockerill is anxious to see Twelvetrees stay at Welford Road and made no secret of his disappointment that the centre could leave at the end of the season.

"Billy has played for us in every game he has been available apart from two this season," he told the Leicester Mercury. "We have put three years of development into Billy and he was coming on nicely in our environment.

"If he does not want to stay and fight for his spot, that is disappointing. Scrum-half Micky Young joined us last summer and knew he would have to fight for his spot with Ben Youngs.

"Ed Slater would cut off his arms to play for us on a regular basis, but he battles for a spot with Louis Deacon, Geoff Parling and George Skivington. That is the way it has been for more than 100 years and that is the way it is going to stay. There are world-class players holding tackle bags in training every week."

If Twelvetrees departs and fly-half Jeremy Staunton follows suit as expected, Leicester would be short on cover at fly-half with England fly-half Flood and highly-rate youngster George Ford their only frontline playmakers.

"We are in the process of bringing new players in and there is a lot of quality out there that we are looking at," said Cockerill.

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