Gloucester Rugby: Hard work can lead to title glory - Billy Twelvetrees
NEW boy Billy Twelvetrees (left) believes Tony Minichiello and Andrew Strauss have helped England pinpoint what will win them the Six Nations.
Olympic gold-winning heptathlete Jessica Ennis' coach and England's former cricket captain are among the country's most successful recent frontline sports operators.
The duo addressed the England squad on Tuesday night, in the middle of Stuart Lancaster's pre-Six Nations squad camp in Leeds.
England boss Lancaster often asks other sportsmen and women to address his squad, and Tuesday's talks left a big impression on versatile Gloucester centre Twelvetrees.
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The 24-year-old linked up with the England squad for the first time this week, and admitted to relishing every minute so far.
Twelvetrees said Minichiello and Strauss covered a range of subjects, but the underlying message was always the same: work harder than everyone else and the rewards will come.
Admitting relief in validating some general rugby philosophies with other sports, Twelvetrees believes Lancaster's squad can win the Six Nations, provided they earn victories through relentless graft.
He said: "They gave us a good insight into what makes a team into champions, what makes a winner and that was great to get a different perspective.
"It was nice to hear that everyone has the same kind of troubles as it were, trying to reach the best of their abilities, and different ways to go about it.
"The boys have really been coming to terms with what it's going to take to win the Six Nations.
"There's a big emphasis on building a solid team spirit and ethic again, and it's great to be involved in that.
"Minichiello was talking about Jess Ennis' drive and work-rate, and it was nice to hear that from a different sporting environment and background.
"He said a lot of her success was simply down to her desire to win and work hard, and that it was difficult to ignore that for her competitors.
"And I think you can transfer that to rugby. If you work together one to 15 as a side and you have that work-rate for each other, you're difficult to beat and that's daunting for the opponents.
"If you work as hard as that, anything can happen.
"And it was refreshing to hear that hard work really does pay off in other sports too, so it really is what it comes down to."