Twelvetrees elicits 2003 comparisons

ENGLAND 38 vs SCOTLAND 18

ENGLAND centre Billy Twelvetrees has hailed his fledgling partnership with fly-half Owen Farrell after the pair drew comparisons with the 2003 World Cup winning Will Greenwood-Jonny Wilkinson axis.

Twelvetrees capped a barnstorming debut with a try as England began their RBS Six Nations campaign with a handsome victory over Scotland at Twickenham on Saturday.

Farrell’s ever-reliable boot reaped 18 points, while Chris Ashton, Geoff Parling and Danny Care also crossed as Stuart Lancaster celebrated a year in charge by lifting the Calcutta Cup.

Twelvetrees’ display and understanding with Farrell have, however, posed Lancaster a selection conundrum for Sunday’s trip to Ireland, when powerhouse centre Manu Tuilagi is expected to return from an ankle injury.

“I made it my goal to get to know guys as quickly as possible and how they play,” said Twelvetrees.

“I watch Owen in the Premiership every week and what he does. We sat down to work out what would work best for us against Scotland. We communicate well out on the field and you can click.

“I always wanted to score a try for England at Twickenham. It was a very nice moment.

“I always believed I was good enough, it was getting a chance to do it. Stuart and the coaches have really backed me up on that. I just wanted to get my hands on the ball and do what I do every week for Gloucester.

“I felt like I did that well. As soon as the points started rolling over I felt quite comfortable.”

Lancaster insists he is ready to start with Twelvetrees again, even if Tuilagi’s anticipated return in Dublin could see the debut star relegated to the bench, with Brad Barritt reverting to inside centre.

“We’re delighted with the way he took the try but his confidence and composure has been good all week. It shows he’s ready to make the step," Lancaster said.

“There are a few selection debates. With Manu coming back into consideration there will be some selection decisions to make. We need to knuckle down to what will be a massive game against Ireland.”