Gloucester Rugby: Twelvetrees as vice-captain no laughing matter
WHAT started as a joke in the midst of the French Alps has ended up with Billy Twelvetrees being appointed Gloucester's vice-captain.
The 24-year-old centre was flattered, but thought little more of it, after he was named in the bracket of potential Gloucester captains for the season ahead.
The Cherry and Whites squad had a jokey conversation about who would lead the club for the forthcoming campaign, while out in Gloucester's pre-season training camp in Tignes.
When new skipper Tom Savage rang accomplished centre Twelvetrees and asked him to be his number two, the former Leicester man realised all that talk had carried a serious undertone.
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"We had a bit of a joke in Tignes about potential captains for the year," explained the skilful pivot.
"A few names were read out as no-hopers, but I won't mention any names!
"I was put in the bracket for potential captains, and that was quite nice.
"And then Tom rang me the other day, he said he had been named and he wanted me to be his vice-captain.
"He said he and Nigel had spoken about it and that's what they wanted.
"I said that was awesome, that I'd love to do it and that I'm fully behind what both he and Nigel are doing, and that I can't wait to get stuck in.
"It's great to have that endorsement, and now we can just move forward.
"It's a massive responsibility. I'm hugely excited with the potential to lead the side if Tom's not there.
"Congratulations to Tom, he thoroughly deserves it, he's a huge role model for a lot of the young and academy guys coming through.
"He really works hard at what he's done, he's a really honest player, he gets huge respect from all the players and coaches at the club.
"To be named as vice-captain is awesome, and to have that is a huge honour at such a great club, and one I'm looking forward to."
Admitting he will not seek to change too much in his general approach, Twelvetrees said Savage's relentless rise through the ranks underlines why the Gloucester squad have no qualms following him.
He continued: "I've said it before, if you're good enough, back yourself as a rugby player and an individual and you work hard on your skill-set then you can fulfil your talent.
"That's what I know I did, and what a lot of the players here did too.
"It just shows with what Tom's achieved too, coming up through the Hartpury system.
"As soon as you step on the field and the whistle goes, you just become who you are every week.
"Every player has their own personality on the pitch. I'm quite vocal on the pitch, I try to help others and help the team's situation and if I'm there to give advice, that's great.
"I will offer it if that's what people want and need, but at the same time I won't be over the top if they don't.
"The main thing is speaking when appropriate, and not speaking when you don't need to as well.
"I'll take all the experiences from over the summer, my time at Leicester and the highs and lows from last season as well.
"We've got huge ambitions to finish in the top two this year, and get a medal on the shirt, and that's something I'm looking forward to.
"You can see the way Tom plays, he puts his heart on his sleeve, tackles everything front of him, carries hard and through whatever world-class player is in front of him.
"He's earned the right to be here the hard way, and he's someone everyone wants to follow.
"It's great for the team to have someone like that leading us."