Twelvetrees move to Gloucester announced but Leicester chief unhappy with switch
Gloucester have confirmed the signing of one of English rugby's brightest prospects, Billy Twelvetrees, from Leicester.
The Kingsholm club released a statement to say the 23-year-old, whose move south has been one of the worst-kept secrets in the game for the last week, has penned a two-year deal effective from June.
The centre or fly-half has spoken of his desire to play at number 12 – something he is expecting to be able to do with Gloucester.
Transfer: Billy Twelvetrees will be on the move
Pre-empting the move, Leicester director of rugby Richard Cockerill called Twelvetrees decision to switch clubs 'disappointing', but the player himself insists he remains indebted to the Tigers.
He said: 'I’m incredibly grateful to everyone at the Tigers for the role they’ve played in helping me to get to this point in my career and, of course, all the support from the fans I’ve had over the last three years.
'It’s not been an easy decision to make but I am looking forward to joining Gloucester in the summer and being part of what is shaping up to be an incredibly talented young English back line.
'In the meantime, though, I’ll be fully committed to helping make the rest of the season as successful as possible for Leicester.'
But speaking after his Tigers side defeat of Harlequins 19-9 in the LV= Cup, Cockerill was less than impressed by the way the move to Gloucester has been handled.
He said: 'Billy’s chosen to move on. That’s his choice; it’s disappointing but that’s life.
Disappointment: Leicester's Richard Cockerill was upset with the way the whole affair was handled
'I’d rather deal with people face-to-face and be up front. George Skivington is leaving, he came and spoke to me and explained his reasons why. I shook his hand and said “thanks very much” and wished him all the best.
'That’s how I prefer to do business. That’s okay. Billy’s a young man and he’ll learn to do things differently as he matures – as I have.'
On the pitch, Leicester got off to the perfect start thanks to Andy Forsyth’s converted try in the fifth minute, before Quins replied with a Rory Clegg penalty.
Fly-half Clegg added two more penalties in the second half but while Quins could not fashion a try, the Tigers added two more through Alex Lewington’s solo score and number eight Ben Pienaar’s well-worked touchdown.
'It was a bit of an odd game really, both sides trying to play and not a huge amount of structure to any of it,' said Cockerill.
'I thought [Andy] Forsyth and Dante Mama, who normally plays at Loughborough Students, did really well and [Alex] Lewington’s got some pace.'
Harlequins have now lost four out of their last six games and head coach John Kingston was far from pleased with his side’s performance.
'That was not to the levels that we expect and aspire to,' he said.
'Yes there’s a lot of players out there who are not playing regularly but we’re a squad and they will be aspiring to put their hand up. Several of them will be very disappointed because they don’t go out there not to perform well.
'Nobody in their right minds is going to expect a team of any sort to carry on with the start we had. We have been winning one losing one in the last few weeks against really very competitive opposition.
'We’ve got an awful lot ahead of us though and an awful lot of positive things to look forward to.'