May backed to regain England place

Published: Saturday 2nd May 2015 by The News Editor

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Billy Twelvetrees has backed Jonny May to force his way back into England’s central World Cup plans after the wing’s virtuoso showing in Gloucester’s 19-13 Challenge Cup triumph.

May sent Twelvetrees over for Gloucester’s only try at The Stoop as the Cherry and Whites survived Bill Meakes’ late sending-off to claim their first trophy since 2011 on Friday night.

The 25-year-old’s lightning counter-attack almost yielded a second Gloucester score, but Edinburgh’s Cornell Du Preez somehow produced a fingertip tap-tackle.

England centre Twelvetrees believes club-mate May can now fight his way back into Stuart Lancaster’s Test line-up after losing his place to Exeter’s Jack Nowell during the RBS 6 Nations.

“It’s a massive boost for Jonny, rugby’s all about confidence, seizing momentum and harnessing that to do well,” Twelvetrees told Press Association Sport.

“He’s really done that recently, and he’s a quality player.

“He’s proven his quality for England, he proved that with his try against the All Blacks in November, and he keeps proving his quality time and again for Gloucester.

“There are quality players throughout England and right through the England squad, but I’m sure he will get another chance to impress, and I’ve no doubt he’ll take it.

“Jonny’s a great talent and just a great player to have in your team.

“He can make something happen from nothing, just as he showed again on Friday.

“He’s a quality player and to have him here is amazing.”

Scotland skipper Greig Laidlaw’s 14-point haul with the boot kept Gloucester in control against his former club Edinburgh in Friday’s second-string European final – until a disciplinary meltdown in the final quarter.

Flanker Ross Moriarty was perhaps fortunate to escape a red card for kneeing the prone Fraser McKenzie in the back.

Just minutes later Gloucester centre Meakes was the unlucky one, harshly sent off for tackling Sam Beard high and without the ball.

Gloucester clung on for victory, with Laidlaw’s playmaking acumen central to the Cherry and Whites’ clever tactics to run down the clock.

Former Ulster boss David Humphreys will now lead Gloucester into the Champions Cup play-offs, with the first match scheduled for May 23.

Gloucester could yet face Edinburgh in that top-tier European qualification battle, with their opponents the side that finishes seventh in the Guinness PRO12.

The winner of that first tie will then face the seventh-placed Top 14 finisher from France on May 30.

Amid a disappointing Aviva Premiership campaign with Gloucester languishing ninth, former Leicester star Twelvetrees admitted the club’s delight at reviving their European qualification hopes.

“It’s huge for us to have the chance to fight for a Champions Cup place now,” said Twelvetrees.

“We’re all looking forward to it.

“The boys have deserved this, we’ve got a couple more games to go in the season and it’s important to try to carry this forward and maintain our form.”

Published: Saturday 2nd May 2015 by The News Editor

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