Twelvetrees: 'It's a dream come true to play'

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The Independent Online

Leicester might have an injury list so lengthy they could start switching their home games across the road to the Royal Infirmary, but such is the way of things at the East Midlands sporting institution even a man of the match debut-day performance in the Heineken Cup can be no guarantee of selection. Billy Twelvetrees left the changing room at Welford Road yesterday clutching his trophy but wondering whether he would make the selection cut for the Italian job away to Viadana next Saturday.

Told that Richard Cockerill, Leicester's director of rugby, intended to make him sweat for his place, the Tigers' match-tying hero replied: "He'll put me in my place. He already has, really." As for Cockerill, he was determined to keep Twelvetrees planted to the ground.

"We'll look at the video and see what he did," Richard Cockerill, Leicester's director of coaching said of the 20-year-old centre, who came up with a try and nine points from the boot – including a match-squaring conversion – after being thrust into the fray after the late withdrawal of Dan Hipkiss. "He missed some kicks and missed some tackles but he held his nerve at the end to the kick the goal. He's got to earn the right to play, the same as everybody else. If we've only got seven backs he'll definitely start."

Of their 36-man squad, the Tigers are now down to 24 fit players. Craig Newby, a blindside flanker, had to stand-in at inside centre in the second half of the 32-32 draw against the Ospreys.

Twelvetrees was released by Leicester's academy in 2008 but was re-signed after topping the try-scoring charts in National League One last season as an outside-half with Bedford.

"It's a dream come true to play for Leicester Tigers, especially in the Heineken Cup," he reflected.

"I'll just keep my head down in training and hope that I get another chance."

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