Gloucester centre Twelvetrees edges closer to England debut
BILLY Twelvetrees has taken a giant step closer to his full England debut tonight.
The Gloucester centre has been retained by boss Stuart Lancaster in the 23-man squad that will prepare to take on Scotland at Twickenham on Saturday (kick-off 4pm).
Head coach Lancaster will confirm his 22-man squad for the Calcutta Cup match on Thursday morning, with one reserve retained as injury cover.
Manu Tuilagi’s ankle injury has opened a gap in England’s centres, and it remains to be seen how Lancaster will handle the Leicester wrecking-ball runner’s absence.
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London Irish centre Jonathan Joseph had been in the mix to slot straight in for Tuilagi – but he has been released from England duty tonight, along with eight other players.
Northampton full-back Ben Foden is also among those returning to their clubs.
Ex-Leicester Tiger Twelvetrees now has a serious chance of making Lancaster’s matchday squad for England’s opening Six Nations encounter.
Lancaster could opt to start Twelvetrees at inside centre and move Brad Barritt to 13, keeping Owen Farrell at 10.
He could however opt to start Toby Flood at fly-half, and pair Barritt at 12 and Farrell at 13, given Saracens are comfortable with that Barritt-Farrell centre partnership.
ENGLAND SQUAD: D Cole, D Hartley, J Haskell, J Launchbury, C Lawes, J Marler, B Morgan, G Parling, C Robshaw, M Vunipola, D Wilson, T Wood, T Youngs, C Ashton, B Barritt, M Brown, D Care, O Farrell, T Flood, A Goode, D Strettle, B Twelvetrees, B Youngs.