Tag Archives: twelvetrees

Six Nations 2013: England name team to play Ireland

Twelvetrees, Barritt, Haskell and Youngs all start for England in Ireland… (as Sportsmail predicted)

By
Rob Wildman

PUBLISHED:

10:15 GMT, 8 February 2013

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UPDATED:

10:19 GMT, 8 February 2013

We called it first…

Sportsmail's Chris Foy once again predicted England's line up correctly earlier this week

England confirmed this morning James Haskell will make his first in the Six Nations for two years when Stuart Lancaster’s team face Ireland, on Sunday, in Dublin.

The 27-year-old, who took himself off to play in Japan and New Zealand following England’s disastrous 2011 Rugby World Cup, starts at blindside flanker following the injury to Ben Morgan in last Saturday’s win over Scotland.

Tom Wood moves across to cover for Morgan at No 8 in a starting team which is otherwise unchanged from the one which beat Scotland 38-18.

Starting role: Haskell is given the nod at blindside with Wood moving to No 8

Starting role: Haskell is given the nod at blindside with Wood moving to No 8

ENGLAND (v Ireland, Dublin, Sunday, kick off 3pm):

Goode (Saracens);
Ashton (Saracens), Barritt (Saracens), Twelvetrees (Gloucester), Brown
(Harlequins); Farrell (Saracens), Ben Youngs (Leicester); Marler
(Harlequins), Tom Youngs (Leicester), Cole (Leicester), Launchbury
(Wasps), Parling (Leicester), Haskell (Wasps), Robshaw (Harlequins,
capt), Wood (Northampton).

Subs: Hartley (Northampton), Wilson (Bath), M Vunipola (Saracens), Lawes
(Northampton); Waldrom (Leicester), Care (Harlequins), Flood
(Leicester), Tuilagi (Leicester).

Haskell’s place on the bench from last week goes to Leicester’s Thomas Waldrom. Another new face among the reserves is centre Manu Tuilagi who takes over from David Strettle.

For head coach Lancaster, the biggest selection decision this week was whether to opt for fit-again Tuilagi over Billy Twelvetrees who had an impressive debut against Scotland.

But as predicted in Sportsmail this week he has opted to stay with the Gloucester player and Saracens’ Brad Barritt, leaving Tuilagi as an impact man to come off the bench. Lancaster has also decided to keep Tom Youngs at hooker ahead of Dylan Hartley.

For Haskell, who will be winning his 47th cap, it is vindication for his decision to return to England last spring and to rejoin his old club of Wasps.

Centre of attention: Barritt retains his place alongside Twelvetrees

Centre of attention: Barritt retains his place alongside Twelvetrees

His last start for England in the Six Nations came two years ago in the same game when Martin Johnson's team went to Dublin in search of a Grand Slam and lost.

Haskell, however, believes his world trip has made him a more ‘enriched person’ and spoke this week about a new mood in the England camp.

He said: ‘Running out to play for England is just as exciting as it ever was. I’ll keep playing for as long as they want me.’

Come in No 2: Tom Youngs starts ahead of Dylan Hartley at hooker

Come in No 2: Tom Youngs starts ahead of Dylan Hartley at hooker

Lancaster said he had made some difficult decisions. He explained: ‘With Manu coming back into the equation it gave us some selection decisions. But with the centres playing well last week and Manu still returning to match fitness, having not played for the last four weeks, he and others will give us great options from the bench in what I am sure will be a physical encounter.'

England also announced that they would be taking 24 players to Ireland for Sunday’s match as Sale’s uncapped prop Henry Thomas will act as travelling reserve.

Saracens 28 Gloucester 23: match report

Saracens 28 Gloucester 23: Hodgson marks return by kicking hosts back into second

PUBLISHED:

17:21 GMT, 2 December 2012

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UPDATED:

17:21 GMT, 2 December 2012

Fly-half Charlie Hodgson kicked 23 points as Saracens moved back into second place in the Aviva Premiership table with victory over Gloucester at Vicarage Road.

Hodgson, returning to the side after four weeks out with a fractured cheekbone, landed seven penalties and a conversion – with only one miss – to hand captain Steve Borthwick victory on his 100th appearance for the club.

But they were pushed all the way by Gloucester who competed superbly but were ultimately sunk by replacement Richard Wigglesworth's crucial second-half try for Sarries.

Kicking on: Charlie Hodgson marked his return to Saracens by scoring 23 points

Kicking on: Charlie Hodgson marked his return to Saracens by scoring 23 points

Gloucester, who had two players sin-binned, replied with tries from prop Dan Murphy and flanker Akapusi Qera, with Billy Twelvetrees kicking their other 13 points.

Twelvetrees, switched from centre to fly-half with Freddie Burns on England duty as a replacement in the Twickenham triumph over New Zealand, kicked Gloucester into an early 6-0 lead with penalties in the second and seventh minutes.

Hodgson's second penalty levelled the scores at 6-6 in the 27th minute but, two minutes later, Gloucester scored the first try of the match after the former England fly-half's clearance kick was charged down.

Prop Murphy, who blocked the kick, produced a neat one-touch to control the ball with his boot and a clean pair of hands to collect it and drive over the line, with Twelvetrees converting.

But, three minutes later, Murphy became the villain when he was sin-binned by referee Sean Davey for killing the ball at a ruck.

Hodgson made partial amends for his earlier blunder by kicking the resulting penalty.

Crunched: Billy Twelvetrees of Gloucester runs into trouble

Crunched: Billy Twelvetrees of Gloucester runs into trouble

Coming together: John Smit (right) tries to power past Twelvetrees

Coming together: John Smit (right) tries to power past Twelvetrees

Gloucester sent on Nick Wood as a temporary front-row replacement for Murphy but his first scrum was penalised on the halfway line and Hodgson made his fourth kick appear effortless from the halfway line to reduce the deficit to a single point four minutes before the interval.

Hodgson struck again to kick Saracens ahead three minutes into the second half after Gloucester were penalised for failing to roll away at the tackle.

But Gloucester responded with number eight Sione Kalamafoni making a surging run through the middle from the halfway line before their pack mounted a concerted series of forward drives.

They moved the ball wide before Qera crashed over in the left corner, with Twelvetrees adding the conversion from the touchline.

Saracens, stung into action, came storming back and when Kalamafoni blatantly killed the ball at a ruck he became the second visiting player to be yellow-carded.

Gloucester were forced to defend desperately as Sarries, attempting to capitalise on their second extra-man advantage, threw everything at them in a series of forward assaults.

Easily done: Richard Wigglesworth dives over the line to score a try

Easily done: Richard Wigglesworth dives over the line to score a try

Gloucester somehow kept them out but they were conceding penalties and Hodgson landed his sixth in the 54th minute before suffering his first miss at the seventh attempt three minutes later as he tried to kick the home side ahead from long range.

But Saracens took the lead for the second time in the match when full-back Chris Wyles, back from international duty with the United States, split the Gloucester defence before releasing replacement scrum-half Wigglesworth who crossed in the corner for a real winger's try, converted by Hodgson.

Twelvetrees cut the gap to two points with his third penalty before Hodgson responded with his seventh.

Gloucester mounted a desperate late assault which saw Wigglesworth sin-binned but Saracens managed to soak up the pressure.

Freddie Burns and Billy Twelvetrees called into England squad

England call on Gloucester duo Burns and Twelvetrees as injury list mounts

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UPDATED:

23:40 GMT, 4 November 2012

The growing clamour for Freddie Burns to be fast-tracked into the England No 10 shirt was given impetus on Sunday as the rookie fly-half was called into the national squad, along with Gloucester team-mate Billy Twelvetrees.

Since the start of this season, the 22-year-old has been in sensational form for his West Country club and an audacious attacking performance in the victory over Leicester nine days ago – when directly opposing Toby Flood – lent further weight to calls for him to be promoted at the first opportunity. That is what has happened in light of the injuries which have hindered centres Jordan Turner-Hall and Jonathan Joseph.

Top talent: Burns has been in fine form for Gloucester this season

Top talent: Burns has been in fine form for Gloucester this season

Burns and Twelvetrees, Gloucester’s 23-year-old imposing inside centre, were summoned on Sunday to the England HQ in Surrey for training this week ahead of the first QBE International against Fiji at Twickenham on Saturday.

Centre of excellence: Twelvetrees gets to grips with Harlequins' Tom Casson

Centre of excellence: Twelvetrees gets to grips with Harlequins' Tom Casson

While at this stage neither of the tyros is likely to force their way into the side, their call-up is a clear indication of the esteem in which they are held.

While Turner-Hall is remaining with Harlequins for treatment on an inflamed knee and Joseph’s ankle problem is being closely monitored, England head coach Stuart Lancaster said: ‘Freddie has been playing well in the Aviva Premiership and we are keen to look at him.

‘JJ is continuing his recovery from an ankle injury and this is a good chance to get Billy in for training. George Robson and David Paice again come in as injury replacements for Courtney Lawes and Dylan Hartley.

‘Both will be assessed and treated in camp and it is important that they stay with the squad as much as possible.’

Meanwhile, Lancaster is facing another potential setback as Wasps flanker James Haskell is in danger of being cited for a dangerous tackle on Sunday which resulted in Saracens lock Alistair Hargreaves being carried off at Vicarage Road.

While Haskell started England’s last Test outing – the draw with South Africa in Port Elizabeth in June – he missed out on a place in the senior EPS squad and has only been brought in due to injuries.

So, what do we know about Freddie Burns

Club: Gloucester.
Age: 22.
Height: 6ft 1in.
Weight: 13st 10lb.
Honours: England Under 20s.
Position: Fly half.

Freddie who He’s the tall playmaker for the Cherry and Whites who grabbed the attention last week against Leicester. He caught his own chip ahead to score one of the best tries of the season so far. The score was also headline-grabbing because it came against England’s current No 1 fly-half Toby Flood and showed Burns’s enterprise and nerve.

What’s the downside Freddie can be both brilliant and erratic in the same match. But he is becoming more consistent as Gloucester’s form improves. He is playing in potentially the Premiership’s best backline, led by World Cup winner Mike Tindall, England wing Charlie Sharples and veteran James Simpson-Daniel. To give a good mix of youth, Gloucester also have a number of young players in ex-Tiger Billy Twelvetrees, Henry Trinder and Jonny May, another player who some pundits – led by Sir Clive Woodward – think should be in the squad for this month’s autumn games.

Will Burns be picked to start one of the autumn Tests He is more likely to be a substitute because he is a versatile player and a good place kicker. However, head coach Stuart Lancaster is likely to stick by Flood and his midfield regulars in Manu Tuilagi and Owen Farrell. But Burns’s inclusion is exciting for those England supporters worried by the lack of spark in the back division.

ROB WILDMAN

Harlequins 28 Gloucester 25 – match report

Harlequins 28 Gloucester 25: Weakened Quins edge out Tigers to top table

PUBLISHED:

19:29 GMT, 3 November 2012

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UPDATED:

19:29 GMT, 3 November 2012

Harlequins showed their strength in depth as they returned to the top of the Aviva Premiership a few hours after being overtaken by Leicester Tigers.

Full-back Mike Brown, released from the England training squad for the weekend, scored their first try with stand-in players Matt Hopper and Sam Smith also touching down.

Fly-half Nick Evans, back after an ankle injury, provided an instant return on the new three-year contract he signed earlier in the week by kicking 13 points for Quins, who were without England players Chris Robshaw, Danny Care, Ugo Monye and Joe Marler.

Main man: Matt Hopper of Harlequins scores a try

Main man: Matt Hopper of Harlequins scores a try

Evans' opposite number Freddie Burns kept fourth-placed Gloucester in contention with six penalties from six attempts before converting a late try by centre Billy Twelvetrees which salvaged a losing bonus point.

But defeat meant they lost their record as the only Premiership side unbeaten away from home this season.

Evans marked his return by kicking his side ahead with a sixth-minute penalty but Burns cancelled it out four minutes later after the Quins scrum was penalised.

Gloucester had made a lively start but the home side scored the first try.
Evans found touch with a penalty from just inside the Gloucester half and hooker Joe Gray's long throw released Maurie Fa'asavalau off the tail of the lineout.

The flanker was hauled down short of the line but Quins quickly moved the ball out wide, where Evans and right-wing Tom Williams combined to find Brown who squeezed over in the left corner and Evans converted from the touchline.

Burns reduced the arrears to four points with his second penalty four minutes later and then cut the deficit to a single point when the home scrum transgressed again.

Former England captain Mike Tindall showed a neat sidestep behind his own line and clever pass to get Gloucester out of trouble when they come under pressure behind their scrum.

Tindall was also prominent in the next attack which resulted in Burns kicking the visitors 12-10 ahead with his fourth penalty after 34 minutes.

But Harlequins showed just why they are the reigning Premiership champions by responding with two opportunist tries as half-time approached.

Dickson, deputising with Care away on England duty, caught Gloucester off guard with a quickly-taken tap penalty and Williams was there again to supply the final pass and send Hopper, who has replaced the injured George Lowe in recent weeks, over near the right-hand corner flag but this time Evans drifted his conversion kick wide.

Worse was to come for Gloucester as James Simpson-Daniel's pass was intercepted on the halfway line by Smith – Monye's replacement – who showed a clean pair of heels as he raced half the length of the pitch to touch down and leave Evans a straightforward conversion.

Burns landed his fifth penalty in the 45th minute but, a minute later, Gloucester were reduced to 14 men when right-wing Shane Monahan was yellow-carded for a dangerous tackle on the airborne Brown as the full-back fielded a high kick.

Evans missed a 57th-minute penalty for Harlequins but made amends, from 40 metres, three minutes later before Burns landed his sixth in the 62nd minute.

Evans landed his third penalty seven minutes from time.

England No 8 Ben Morgan, who had just returned from seven minutes off the field having treatment to a gashed head, became the second visitor to be sin-binned for illegally disrupting a Quins attack as they pressed for a fourth try.

Harlequins chose scrums over penalty shots three times but offended themselves and 14-man Gloucester launched a counter-attack which produced a last-ditch try for Twelvetrees, converted by Burns, to grab their consolation point.

Gloucester 25 Bordeaux 13: Charlie Sharples at the double as hosts claim fine win

Gloucester 25 Bordeaux 13: Sharples at the double as hosts claim fine win

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UPDATED:

23:27 GMT, 18 October 2012

Gloucester picked up their second Amlin Challenge Cup victory of the season and with it a bonus point following a comfortable victory over Bordeaux-Begles at Kingsholm.

The home side ran in four first half tries to put the game beyond the visitors with Will James, Bill Twelvetrees and Charlie Sharples (2) all touching down, while two Nicolas Sanchez penalties and a late converted score by Gauthier Gibouin ensured the visitors were not embarrassed.

Over the line: Charlie Sharples scores Gloucester's third try

Over the line: Charlie Sharples scores Gloucester's third try

The hosts, keen to use the momentum from their opening win at Mont de Marsan, dominated from the off and took just six minutes to score the first try with James touching down in the corner after he outmuscled Avesini Vasuinubua.

Twelvetrees missed the conversion as he did for their second score six minutes later when the Irishman took advantage of a brilliant kick through by Jimmy Cowan to outrun the Bordeaux backline and touch down.

Breaking away: James Simpson-Daniel in possession for Gloucester

Breaking away: James Simpson-Daniel in possession for Gloucester

Sanchez converted two penalties to get his side back into the clash but two Sharples tries, the second made by an excellent Ben Morgan run, put Gloucester well in control at the break, 25-6 ahead.

The second-half was a less frantic affair, but it was the visitors who had the final say as a Gibouin crashed over.

Gloucester 19 Northampton 24: Lucky 13 cling on to victory in thriller

Gloucester 19 Northampton 24: Lucky 13 cling on to victory in thriller

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UPDATED:

16:43 GMT, 1 September 2012

Northampton held on with just 13 men to beat Gloucester in a thrilling finale.

The Saints scored three tries to one, with centre George Pisi getting two of them and England cap Dylan Hartley the other.

Fly-half Ryan Lamb landed a penalty and three conversions.

Not this time: Gloucester's Charlie Sharples is stopped by the Northampton defence

Not this time: Gloucester's Charlie Sharples is stopped by the Northampton defence

A penalty try for Gloucester along
with four penalties and a conversion from Freddie Burns just was not
enough for the home side.

Former England captain Mike Tindall,
who is combining his playing career at Gloucester with learning the
coaching ropes, formed a new centre partnership with ex-Leicester
midfield man Billy Twelvetrees.

The former Tigers youngster was one
of five players in the Cherry and Whites 22 making their debuts, with
England back-row Ben Morgan at number eight.

Going over: Northampton centre George Pisi beats Mike Tindall to score

Going over: Northampton centre George Pisi beats Mike Tindall to score

Northampton had five players starting
a Premiership match for the first time, with Samoan wing Ken Pisi
joining his brother George in the backs, centre Dominic Waldouck in the
team and South African number eight Gerrit-Jan van Velze starting in the
back row.

Anticipation before kick-off was for a close game game as the sides had run each other to the wire twice last season.

The opening exchanges were fierce in
this latest encounter. But Northampton soon found a key weakness in the
home armour on the left wing and exploited it.

Fine form: Gloucester's Freddie Burns kicks a penalty

Fine form: Northampton's Ryan Lamb kicks at goal

Fine form: Gloucester's Freddie Burns (left) and Northampton's Ryan Lamb (right)

The Saints pack went around the
blindside to drive close early on but, after a short attack by the
Cherry and Whites, Northampton found the tryline as Hartley put Pisi
away on the left and the centre cut inside to cross.

Again, they almost went in on the
left before Hartley took a pass from the base of a ruck to dive in at
the corner, with Lamb booting his second conversion.

Gloucester finally got on the board
when Burns landed a 30-metre penalty but the Cherry and Whites needed to
get a spark from somewhere to get them going.

May day: Jonny May is tackled by Northampton's Ken Pisi

May day: Jonny May is tackled by Northampton's Ken Pisi

A second Burns penalty shortly before
the break reduced the arrears briefly before Lamb kicked his first
penalty to restore the 11-point advantage at half-time and give new home
coach Nigel Davies a lot to talk through in the dressing room.

Gloucester hit back with two Burns
penalties as they clawed their way back into the game but they needed
tries but it was Northampton who were scoring them as Pisi went over
again on 50 minutes after a move across the backs to the right where
prop Soane Tonga'uiha gave him the scoring pass.

On the run: Sharples makes a break at Kingsholm Stadium

On the run: Sharples makes a break at Kingsholm Stadium

Burns had the home fans on their feet
when he intercepted a loose pass in his own 22 and raced upfield but
did not have the support to make the chance count and then a neat chip
over the Saints defence gave replacement Huia Edmonds a chance but he
could not get the ball grounded over the line.

Can't catch me: George Pisi stretches the defence

Can't catch me: George Pisi stretches the defence

Gloucester needed two tries and a
conversion to draw and had a chance for one of them when van Velze and
then prop Paul Doran-Jones were sin-binned.

It left the Saints pack seriously depleted as they gave away a penalty try for collapsing a scrum.

Northampton's 13 men were under the
cosh back in their own half but full-back Jonny May dropped a chance
with the line in front of him.

The home side had one final chance to
grab the winning try but a knock-on from replacement centre Henry
Trinder finished Gloucester's hopes.

Leicester 21 Saracens 15: George Ford guides Tigers to eighth Aviva Premiership final

Leicester 21 Saracens 15: Teen Ford guides Tigers to eighth Aviva Premiership final

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UPDATED:

21:02 GMT, 13 May 2012

George Ford is on course to parade his teenage talents at Twickenham, as Toby Flood is almost certain to miss Leicester's latest appearance in the Aviva Premiership Final and England's summer tour through injury.

On Saturday, 19-year-old Ford, the IRB Young Player of the Year, illustrated why he was deemed worthy of such a prestigious award by showing remarkable composure to guide the Tigers into their eighth consecutive final with a 24-15 win over champions Saracens.

Going places: George Ford shows his pace

Going places: George Ford shows his pace

The son of former England defence coach Mike Ford had a major hand in both Leicester tries and kicked 14 points.

He finished on the winning side
despite the efforts of his former national Under 20 team-mate Owen
Farrell, who landed five penalties for the visitors.

Tiger's roar: Alesana Tuilagi celebrates after scoring the first try at Welford Road

Tiger's roar: Alesana Tuilagi celebrates after scoring the first try at Welford Road

MATCH FACTS

Leicester: Murphy, Agulla, M. Tuilagi, Allen, A. Tuilagi, Ford, B. Youngs, Ayerza, Chuter, Cole, Skivington, Parling, Mafi, Newby, Waldrom.

Replacements: Castrogiovanni for Cole (58).

Not Used: T. Youngs, Mulipola, Kitchener, Woods, Harrison, Twelvetrees, Hamilton.

Tries: A. Tuilagi, Mafi.

Cons: Ford.

Pens: Ford 4.

Saracens: Goode, Strettle, Farrell, B. Barritt, Wyles, Hodgson, de Kock, Gill, Brits, Stevens, Borthwick, Botha, Wray, Fraser, Joubert.

Replacements: Short for Strettle (66), Powell for B. Barritt (78), Smit for Gill (78), George for Brits (78), Nieto for Stevens (62).

Not Used: Vyvyan, Kruis, Wigglesworth.

Pens: Farrell 5.

Attendance: 20,173

Referee: Dave Pearson (RFU).

Officially, Ford Jnr was a late replacement for Flood, who had been named in the Tigers starting XV.

In reality, the more experienced Englishman was never in contention and Sportsmail understands that the ankle injury he sustained against Bath on May 5 is worse than first thought.

Flood is set to be ruled out of
travelling to South Africa with England for next month's three-Test tour
against the Springboks, leaving Farrell to continue in the Test No 10
shirt.

Gloucester's Freddie Burns is the man most likely to be called into the squad as a replacement fly-half.

Flood's absence would also clear the
way for Ford to resume the conductor's duties in a second final of the
season, having wielded the baton with aplomb when Leicester won the LV
Cup in March.

On this occasion, it was the rookie's
astute, deep pass which sent Alesana Tuilagi clear for a try on his
last home appearance for the Midlands club.

The young playmaker's break then paved the way for Steve Mafi's second-half try.

Ford said: 'I was nervous before the
game, but there were lads out there with lots of experience and they
helped me out massively.'

Touching down: Leicester's Steve Mafi dives over to score his side's second try of the match

Touching down: Leicester's Steve Mafi dives over to score his side's second try of the match

Defensive duties: Leicester scrum-half Ben Youngs kicks the ball upfield at Welford Road

Defensive duties: Leicester scrum-half Ben Youngs kicks the ball upfield at Welford Road

Although Ford accepts that Flood is
first choice at Leicester, he added: 'You want to develop. your own game
so it can get quite frustrating at times but when opportunities come
like this you have to take them.'

Despite having had limited game time
for his club, Ford was considered by Stuart Lancaster for a place in
England's senior tour squad, but a decision was made in consultation
with the Tigers to leave him at home, to concentrate on bulking up a
comparatively slight frame.

Joe Marler looks bound for his
England debut after helping Harlequins' emerging front row leave
Northampton's heavyweights Brian Mujati and Soane Tonga'uiha substituted
and exhausted.

Trusty boot: Saracens star Owen Farrell kicks a penalty during the Aviva Premiership semi-final

Trusty boot: Saracens star Owen Farrell kicks a penalty during the Aviva Premiership semi-final

The 21-year-old has gained the
headlines for his Mohican-style haircut, but the talk now is of his
rapidly improving all-action style and strong scrummaging.

Marler scored the crucial try in
this semi-final victory and then had the confidence to declare that he
and his colleagues were confident of taking on any team after Quins came
back from a 23-15 deficit.

His try, following a rolling maul
involving 13 colleagues, levelled the scores at 23-23 before Nick Evans
slotted the match-winning conversion.

Foot in touch: Leicester back Alesana Tuilagi makes a try-saving tackle on David Strettle

Foot in touch: Leicester back Alesana Tuilagi makes a try-saving tackle on David Strettle

Marler believes Quins' improvement up
front began this time last year when they beat Stade Francais in the
European Challenge Cup final after a semi-final trip to Limerick to beat
Munster.

On the evidence of his energetic
display in which he overpowered Mujati on a personal level, he is set
for his senior England debut on the tour to South Africa.

With Bath's David Wilson out of the
trip due to a wrist injury, Marler is now the back-up for Andrew
Corbisiero, the London Irish loosehead who has been picked for the trip
despite a recent operation on a bicep injury.

Catch me if you can: Tigers centre Manu Tuilagi breaks through a tackle

Catch me if you can: Tigers centre Manu Tuilagi breaks through a tackle

Rumble: Ernst Joubert is tackled by Leicester prop Dan Cole (second right)

Rumble: Ernst Joubert is tackled by Leicester prop Dan Cole (second right)

Leicester 21 Saracens 15: Tigers set up Premiership final against Harlequins

Leicester 21 Saracens 15: Tigers end Sarries' reign to set up Quins final date

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UPDATED:

18:40 GMT, 12 May 2012

Teenager George Ford drove Leicester into a remarkable eighth successive Premiership final as Tigers ended Saracens' reign as English champions.

The 19-year-old, son of former England defence coach Mike Ford, kicked four penalties and a conversion after replacing ankle injury victim Toby Flood.

Ford's inclusion was the headline selection by Tigers, especially as they had named Flood on their official team sheet, but he did not let down a club in pursuit of its 10th league title.

Tiger's roar: Alesana Tuilagi celebrates after scoring the first try at Welford Road

Tiger's roar: Alesana Tuilagi celebrates after scoring the first try at Welford Road

HEADER HERE

Leicester: Murphy, Agulla, M. Tuilagi, Allen, A. Tuilagi, Ford, B. Youngs, Ayerza, Chuter, Cole, Skivington, Parling, Mafi, Newby, Waldrom.

Replacements: Castrogiovanni for Cole (58).

Not Used: T. Youngs, Mulipola, Kitchener, Woods, Harrison, Twelvetrees, Hamilton.

Tries: A. Tuilagi, Mafi.

Cons: Ford.

Pens: Ford 4.

Saracens: Goode, Strettle, Farrell, B. Barritt, Wyles, Hodgson, de Kock, Gill, Brits, Stevens, Borthwick, Botha, Wray, Fraser, Joubert.

Replacements: Short for Strettle (66), Powell for B. Barritt (78), Smit for Gill (78), George for Brits (78), Nieto for Stevens (62).

Not Used: Vyvyan, Kruis, Wigglesworth.

Pens: Farrell 5.

Attendance: 20,173

Referee: Dave Pearson (RFU).

In addition to his priceless points from the boot, Ford also created both Leicester tries through slick passing that cut open a Saracens defence renowned for its Scrooge-like quality.

Wing Alesana Tuilagi, on his final Tigers appearance at Welford Road before moving to Japan, touched down midway through the first half, while flanker Steve Mafi also crossed to thwart a Saracens side whose points came from five Owen Farrell penalties.

Leicester slumped to 11th in the Premiership after their first six games, of which they lost five, but 14 subsequent victories and a draw saw them climb to just one point behind regular season leaders Harlequins.

And it was Ford, current junior world
player of the year, who showed admirable maturity to steer Leicester
towards a Twickenham appointment with Quins on May 26.

England international Flood will
probably return for the final, yet there can be no doubting Ford's
contribution to Tigers during a season when he also kicked 16 points in
their LV= Cup final victory over Northampton.

Saracens, despite leading 12-10 just
before the break, were punished for their failure to convert a number of
promising attacking positions into points.

Touching down: Leicester's Steve Mafi dives over to score his side's second try of the match

Touching down: Leicester's Steve Mafi dives over to score his side's second try of the match

Defensive duties: Leicester scrum-half Ben Youngs kicks the ball upfield at Welford Road

Defensive duties: Leicester scrum-half Ben Youngs kicks the ball upfield at Welford Road

And Leicester needed no second invitation to capitalise as fortress Welford Road once again lived up to its reputation for visiting teams.

Tigers' official explanation for Flood's absence was that he failed a late fitness test, while flanker Craig Newby took over from Julian Salvi (hamstring), who Leicester said was also a late cry-off.

Farrell lined up at outside centre for Saracens, with Charlie Hodgson wearing the number 10 shirt and young flankers Jackson Wray and Will Fraser also featuring as the visitors targeted a fourth successive victory on Leicester soil.

Trusty boot: Saracens star Owen Farrell kicks a penalty during the Aviva Premiership semi-final

Trusty boot: Saracens star Owen Farrell kicks a penalty during the Aviva Premiership semi-final

Farrell and Ford exchanged early penalties, but Saracens looked the most threatening side early on, and they should have posted a 12th-minute try.

Fraser made a superb touchline break before full-back Alex Goode found David Strettle, but although the England wing avoided Tuilagi's tackle, he lost control of the ball as he stretched for a one-handed touchdown.

Farrell then put Saracens back in front with a short-range penalty, yet Leicester bounced back midway through the half when Samoa international Tuilagi powered over for his 63rd Tigers try after a superbly-timed Ford pass.

Foot in touch: Leicester back Alesana Tuilagi makes a try-saving tackle on David Strettle

Foot in touch: Leicester back Alesana Tuilagi makes a try-saving tackle on David Strettle

Ford added the conversion, hoisting Leicester 10-6 ahead as Saracens suddenly found themselves in reverse gear, courtesy of Tigers cranking up intensity levels.

A third Farrell penalty cut the gap to a point, and then after he missed an angled strike, his fourth successful goal put Saracens 12-10 in front nearing the end of a ferociously-intense first period.
Ford, though, had the final say, displaying an unflappable temperament when he bisected the posts from just inside Saracens' half to secure a 13-12 interval advantage for Tigers.

Catch me if you can: Tigers centre Manu Tuilagi breaks through a tackle

Catch me if you can: Tigers centre Manu Tuilagi breaks through a tackle

Ford missed an early second half penalty, yet his response was both audacious and brilliant, slashing through Saracens' midfield defence and allowing Leicester to spin possession wide that ended with Mafi crossing.

Saracens breathed a collective sigh of relief when Ford drifted the conversion wide, but his successful penalty just three minutes later left the visitors more than a converted try adrift.

Rumble: Ernst Joubert is tackled by Leicester prop Dan Cole (second right)

Rumble: Ernst Joubert is tackled by Leicester prop Dan Cole (second right)

Farrell's fifth successful penalty ensured a gripping final quarter, but Tigers had more than enough left in the tank to cross the finishing line.

Saracens, despite the best efforts of workaholic forwards Schalk Brits, prop Matt Stevens and skipper Steve Borthwick, had to concede second best as Leicester began preparing for a familiar journey to Twickenham in two weeks' time.

And Ford's final penalty success five minutes from time meant Leicester could finally breathe easily, content that it was yet another case of mission accomplished in a major semi-final.

Leicester 26 Northampton 14: Ford keeps focus to kick Tigers to LV= Cup final glory

Leicester 26 Northampton 14: Ford keeps focus to kick Tigers to LV= Cup final glory

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UPDATED:

17:24 GMT, 18 March 2012

Geordan Murphy lifted the LV= Cup at
Worcester's Sixways stadium as Leicester won the battle of the East
Midlands to claim the first silverware of the English club rugby season
and a place in the Heineken Cup.

The match was settled soon after
half-time as wing Scott Hamilton ran 80 metres after intercepting an
ambitious pass from Saints fly-half Stephen Myler.

Over the line: Leicester's Steve Mafi scored the first try in the LV=Cup Final

Over the line: Leicester's Steve Mafi scored the first try in the LV=Cup Final

Teenage fly-half George Ford, who kicked a match tally of 16 points, had kept the Tigers in touch with three penalties before flanker Steve Mafi gave them the lead for the first time in the 26th minute.

Northampton, winners of the competition two years ago, did not manage a try until five minutes from time, through lock Christian Day.

Sunny Sixways provided a perfect stage but with a chilly north-westerly wind aiding Northampton from the kick-off.

Arms race: Billy Twelvetrees holds off Northampton's Vasily Artemyev

Arms race: Billy Twelvetrees holds off Northampton's Vasily Artemyev

After a 'sighter' from a difficult angle, Myler opened the scoring at the second attempt from near halfway in the sixth minute.

Although Leicester mounted a
threatening attack at the other end, the ball was spilled and the Tigers
scrum was penalised for a second time.

Loosehead Boris Stankovich picked up
an injury and was replaced by Marcos Ayerza, but not before Saints were
awarded yet another penalty at the breakdown.

Diggin in: Scott Hamilton feels the full force of Northampton's Paul Diggin

Diggin in: Scott Hamilton feels the full force of Northampton's Paul Diggin

Myler's kick was on the mark from
fully 50 metres to give Saints a 6-0 lead after 11 minutes but Leicester
then strung together a series of threatening attacks.

Again they yielded penalties rather
than tries but Ford was equal to the task and pulled his side level with
two successful kicks.

The two fly-halves exchanged
penalties again to take the score to 9-9 after 24 minutes, but that was
no real reflection on either side's willingness to move the ball through
the hands.

In the grasp: George Ford attempts to move forward under Saints' pressure

In the grasp: George Ford attempts to move forward under Saints' pressure

Catch the Tiger: Leicestwer's Logovi'i Mulipola charges upfield

Catch the Tiger: Leicestwer's Logovi'i Mulipola charges upfield

Leicester were seeing rather more of
the ball, however, and deservedly went ahead when Mafi barged past
Vasily Artemyev to score in the left corner on 26 minutes.

The rangy flanker had begun the
attack by fielding a restart on his own 22 but the telling thrust had
been delivered by Billy Twelvetrees, carving through the Saints defence
with Graham Kitchener in support. Ford added the conversion.

Scrum-half Martin Roberts prevented
further damage by being first to a dangerous grubber kick by Murphy, at
the cost of a five-metre scrum.

Getting shirty: Martin Roberts is held back by James Grindal

Getting shirty: Martin Roberts is held back by James Grindal

Although the Tigers' front row was
now more than up to the challenge posed by Tonga'uiha and Co and drove
menacingly to force a penalty, Ford spoiled his unblemished record by
missing the relatively easy kick.

Saints approached the second half
with far more purpose but again collapsed a scrum and this time Ford
converted his penalty from 50 metres to open up a 10-point lead.

John Downey and George Pisi nearly
fashioned an opening but the ball was spilled within striking distance
of the Tigers' try-line.

Locked in battle: Leicester's Marcos Ayerza is held back

Locked in battle: Leicester's Marcos Ayerza is held back

Two minutes later Myler tried to
force an opening with a floated pass that only found its way into the
hands of left wing Hamilton who raced from his 22 to score at the other
end.

Ford converted the 50th minute try
and Leicester were three scores ahead. It made the decision to spurn a
kickable penalty on the hour all the more puzzling as Leicester then
successfully defended a line-out in the corner and then a series of
five-metre scrums.

Five minutes later, Ford left the
field to be replaced by Flood as the Tigers' coaching team decided they
needed the England man's experience.

Ford focused: George Ford attempts to break free of Calum Clark

Ford focused: George Ford attempts to break free of Calum Clark

The youngster had again shown remarkable maturity and kicking prowess.

The penalty count against them was
mounting, however, and in the 71st minute skipper Murphy was shown a
yellow card for his team's repeated infringements.

But it was not until the 75th minute
that Saints' desperate attacking efforts were rewarded when Day crashed
over in the corner for an unconverted try.

Putting the boot in: George Ford was instrumental in Leicester's victory

Putting the boot in: George Ford was instrumental in Leicester's victory

Leicester 29 London Wasps 11: Billy Twelvetrees stakes England claim

Leicester 29 London Wasps 11: Twelvetrees stakes England claim by scoring all of Tigers points

Billy Twelvetrees pressed a late claim to be included in England's Six Nations squad by scoring all 29 of Leicester's points as they brushed aside struggling London Wasps.

Usually an inside centre, 23-year-old Twelvetrees started at fly-half in the absence of the injured Toby Flood and he reveled in the role, scoring two tries and kicking 19 points.

The home side overcame a sluggish start to run out comfortable winners in cold, blustery conditions.

Leicester, without Flood and fellow injured England players Manu Tuilagi and Louis Deacon, were never at their most fluent, particularly behind the scrum, but they were still too much for Wasps.

King Billy: Twelvetrees dives over for his second try

King Billy: Twelvetrees dives over for his second try

Second-bottom Wasps had made a solid
start, belying their lowly league standing, and the home side took the
best part of half an hour to find their feet.

Elliot Daly and Twelvetrees exchanged early penalties, before Wasps
scored the opening try after 14 minutes as winger Tom Varndell rescued a
move which looked to have broken down.

He made good ground down the left before Berry was able to charge over untouched to put his side 8-3 up.

After pulling a penalty back, Twelvetrees provided the spark his side and the match needed.

His well-timed pass put Geordan Murphy into a gap and opened up the
Wasps defence. The Irishman's inside pass to Thomas Waldrom went to
ground off Varndell making the covering tackle, and Twelvetrees was
quickest to react, picking up the ball to dive over and put his side
11-8 ahead.

Thomas the tank: England No 8 Waldrom takes on Wasps' defence

Thomas the tank: England No 8 Waldrom takes on Wasps' defence

He converted his own try, then exchanged penalties with Wasps fly-half Ryan Davis as Tigers went to the break 16-11 up.

The second half again saw Wasps start well, applying pressure on the
Leicester line, but as with the first half they lacked the ability to
really punish their hosts.

And it was not long before Tigers asserted real dominance, controlling
the tempo and possession to eventually close out the game in a
relatively comfortable fashion.

Twelvetrees kicked another two penalties as Tigers edged out to a 22-11
lead, the second resulting in Wasps prop Tim Payne being sent to the
sin-bin with 20 minutes remaining.

Leicester looked to make the most of their numerical superiority, launching a series of raids on the Wasps line.

Youngs one: England scrum-half Ben Youngs was on form for Leicester

Youngs one: England scrum-half Ben Youngs was on form for Leicester

Anthony Allen and Geordan Murphy both went close, and Wasps resisted until the 72nd minute.

Inevitably it was Twelvetrees who provided the coup de grace, but he had plenty of help from his inside-half partner.

He bagged his second try of the night following yet another series of
determined attacks on the Wasps line, collecting a smart pass from
England scrum-half Ben Youngs to score right under the posts, and
converted his own try to put the seal on a convincing victory.

Leicester's win moves them level on points with third-placed
Northampton, while Wasps remain second from bottom but still 10 points
clear of bottom placed Newcastle Falcons, who lost at home to Exeter.