Gloucester Rugby: Twelvetrees signing is a big statement says Nigel Davies
SECURING British Lion Billy Twelvetrees on a new two-year Kingsholm deal is a big statement of intent from Gloucester, says boss Nigel Davies.
England centre Twelvetrees has signed a two-year contract extension, keeping him at Kingsholm until summer 2016. And the 24-year-old midfield pivot has pledged to repay Gloucester's faith.
Twelvetrees is the first Gloucester star to sign a new contract this season, leaving 23 first-team men out of contract at the end of the campaign.
Rugby director Davies believes the influential centre's signature could have a domino-rally effect on the rest of Gloucester's high-profile stars whose current deals will expire this term.
Bring a friend to Yoga with Evelyn at 8pm on Wednesdays, and get...View details
Bring a friend to Evelyn’s “Yoga” class on Wednesdays at 8-9pm, and get your class half for only £3. Offer open to non-members. Contact Natasha on 07958 520042 for details.
Terms: Class running at Fitness4Less, Grosvenor terrace. Non-members welcome.
Valid until: Friday, January 31 2014
The Cherry and Whites chief is confident Twelvetrees has only shown 'glimpses' of his Kingsholm potential in his 14 months with the club since switching from Leicester Tigers.
Davies, pictured right, explained: "It's a statement that we've signed Billy now in terms of where Gloucester's going, given his high-profile.
"He wants to be part of this team, he loves Gloucester, he loves the environment and he loves Kingsholm, and wants to be a big part of this team moving forward.
"He can see where our ambitions are, he wants to win things and he wouldn't have re-signed unless he thought the club shared those same aims and could realistically achieve them.
"It's not just a statement to those outside the club, it's also a statement to others at the club too.
"It speaks volumes about how focused and committed we are to what we want to achieve.
"It's the first part of the jigsaw and hopefully the picture can be put together over the next few months.
"It's important to start somewhere though, so we can get things going, gain some momentum and people can realise where we are.
"It's a significant signing, based on the fact that he's our only British Lion, he's well-respected throughout the rugby world and he's a quality player with a winning mentality.
"There's a lot more in Billy, I think we've only seen glimpses of how good he can be so far.
"When he brings all the areas of his game together, there's no limit to how good he can be."
Freddie Burns, Henry Trinder, Charlie Sharples and Sione Kalamafoni are just a sample of the 23 remaining out-of-contract Gloucester stars.
Boss Davies pledged to work methodically through that group in the next few months.
Premiership clubs are forbidden to offer deals to rivals' stars until their contracts have six or less months to run.
While Davies admits those rules are open to abuse, he said that six-month limit still protects a first-refusal for any player's current club.
He continued: "We've prioritised a number of deals to arrange and there are other players we'll talk to moving forward quickly now too.
"It's a bit of a jigsaw, within a defined limit, and we have clear plans where we want to take the squad and what the balance looks like.
"Then you've got to plan back from that point.
"This is the first piece of the jigsaw and there will be many more over the coming months.
"This process is a mixed bag. Some in the squad will be settled by this, others might become anxious.
"But I would tell them clearly, that they don't need to be.
"There is a process that we're underway with, and we will speak to them all, in good time – but we've got to start somewhere.