Gloucester Rugby: Billy Twelvetrees eyes long stay at Kingsholm
BILLY Twelvetrees wants to commit his long-term future to the Cherry and Whites.
Gloucester's new vice-captain admitted he was always eyeing a lengthy Cherry and Whites career – from the moment he joined last summer.
The 24-year-old playmaker's current Gloucester contract will expire at the end of the season.
Top clubs across the Premiership and beyond will be monitoring the England and British Lions centre's situation with more than passing interest.
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League regulations forbid rival clubs making contract offers until players have six months or less to run on their existing deals.
January 1 has become something of a contract D-Day then, with clubs keen to tie up as many of their top stars as possible before that cut-off point.
Gloucester have 24 first-team players out of contract at the end of the forthcoming term.
But rugby director Davies and the Kingsholm board have already kick-started their strategy to retain all their prized assets.
Twelvetrees will be crucial among them, given his commanding midfield presence and his rare mix of physicality and finesse.
The former Leicester Tiger has moved to allay any real fears about his future though, revealing that as long as Gloucester continue to thrive and want to keep him then he will want to stay.
Twelvetrees explained: "I never really came here for the short term.
"I came to this club because it's an established, traditional rugby club that has great core values, great supporters and it's a great team that plays fantastic rugby.
"I wanted to go to a place that would help me develop and establish myself as a player, and play good rugby.
"I've loved every minute of being here and I'd love to stay for the foreseeable future.
"It's been great for me so far, and as long as I keep playing well and everyone wants me, the team's doing well and everything's in place that has been, then I want to be here.
"If all of that stays the same, then it would hopefully be good for everyone at the club and good for me too, to continue to be here.
"There's a huge amount of trust that goes with being vice-captain, and I am ready to live up to that and repay the faith.
"It's not something I dwell on though. The important thing is to get the head down and get on with playing well for the team.
"I won't change in that sense.
"Most of the time it's just about performing well for the team at the weekend and gearing all our preparations around it."
Twelvetrees' remarkable rise started with his Gloucester switch last summer and ended with a call-up to the British Lions as injury cover a year on.
Poised to cement himself as an England mainstay along with fly-half Freddie Burns, the West Sussex-raised midfielder admitted he relished his Lions whirlwind.
Twelvetrees now hopes he can exploit his Australia tour experience to help Gloucester in their quest to crack into the Premiership play-offs in Nigel Davies' second season at the Kingsholm helm.
He continued: "To be coached by new coaches, work with players at that level, it was great to be exposed to new angles and methods I'd never seen before.
"It was just about getting advice and asking questions from as many people as possible.
"You might never have that captive audience of so many quality players and coaches again.
"So I've taken as much as I can from that, and hopefully I can take it back here and help that experience improve me and improve Gloucester too.
"You speak to any player that is exposed to higher levels – the more involvements you have, the more you want.
"You just want to train harder and get better from your experiences.
"As soon as I got home from Australia I knew I needed a holiday, but I was itching to get back to Gloucester and get stuck in as soon as possible.
"It's a huge honour to play for Gloucester. I've loved every minute so far and I just want to kick on now."