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Manu Tuilagi: I can't wait for clash with Billy Twelvetrees


Manu Tuilagi is looking forward to reacquainting himself with former Leicester Tigers' colleague Billy Twelvetrees this afternoon.

But the most important thing for the young Tigers centre when his side face Gloucester in the Aviva Premiership at Kingsholm is that he and his team-mates carry on where they left off in Sunday's Heineken Cup victory over the Ospreys.

Fly-half Toby Flood may have been instrumental in that 39-22 win, contributing 24 points, but Tuilagi also played a huge part.

The youngster weighed in with two of Tigers' four tries as they surged to that bonus point victory.

"It is massive," said Tuilagi. "We have to carry on from the performance last week - and go on a bit more.

"We need to keep playing well and keep playing good rugby. Hopefully, that is something that we can do today.

"After the first 10 minutes against the Ospreys, we composed ourselves and came back really well from 10-0 down.

"The crowd was just fantastic, too. The noise was absolutely amazing."

Tuilagi added that the players knew that they had to respond instantly after the loss to Toulouse the previous week in the Heineken Cup.

"It didn't feel like a bad game when you were on the field," he explained.

"But looking at the game afterwards, we made a lot of mistakes.

"There was nothing different in training but everyone knew that they had to tighten up on little things – they all add up."

It is the last time Tigers will have their full squad together before eight England players disappear for action in the Autumn internationals during the next five weeks.

"It is a massive weekend before the Tests," Tuilagi said.

"But it is good for Leicester that we have the strength in depth.

"That is important at this time when everybody gets to play their part."

Tuilagi's match-up with Twelvetrees, who moved to Kingsholm from Welford Road this season, could light up the Premiership clash.

The Tigers' star knows that he and his team-mates will have to keep the shackles on their former colleague. "I'm looking forward to seeing Billy again," Tuilagi said.

"It is going to be tough playing against him with the talent that he has got.

"We are going to have to watch him really carefully.

"It is good that we know his game, but we will still have to be on our toes all the time.

"Gloucester also have pace on both the wings so we know that we have to be tight defensively."

Twelvetrees is not the only player Tigers will have to keep their eye on in the home ranks today.

They have a genuine cutting edge with winger Charlie Sharples, who is making his way back into the side after a shoulder injury.

Sharples was one of two Gloucester men named in the England autumn squad this week alongside No.8 Ben Morgan.

Manu Tuilagi: I can't wait for clash with Billy Twelvetrees

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