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Meakes targets make-or-break LV= Cup fortnight

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Billy Meakes has not followed the beaten track to Kingsholm, but now the Gloucester Rugby centre is targeting a more orthodox stepping stone on his way to the top.

Rather than cutting his teeth at the Cherry & Whites’ faithful Hartpury College breeding ground, Meakes made the trip from Manly – via Clifton, just 35 miles down the M5.

The former Australia U20 and sevens international, who also holds a British passport, swapped Sydney for the Bristol-based club in England’s National League system.

Gloucester soon came calling and, one year on from his debut, Meakes has featured in Aviva Premiership Rugby, the European Rugby Challenge Cup and the LV= Cup.

And it is in the latter, a proven testing ground for the next generation of internationals, that the 23-year-old is hoping to catch the eye over the next two weeks.

“It was bizarre,” said Meakes, of his switch to Clifton back in 2013. “It wasn’t something I had planned on but I got a great opportunity at Clifton.

“Playing in the Premiership was definitely something I wanted to do but I wasn’t sure how quickly it was going to happen – I’m just stoked that it has happened.

“I think this LV= Cup fortnight has come at a really good time, with the internationals away, for players like me to get a good run-out.

“This is the make-or-break time for players in my situation. It’s a chance to show what you have got and let the coaches know they can rely on you in the Premiership.”

Meakes has clearly made an impression on the Gloucester hierarchy over the last 12 months, signing a new contract at Kingsholm two weeks ago.

And after playing his part in a 31-20 victory at Brive last weekend – cementing their home quarter-final in the European Rugby Challenge Cup – he is hoping to continue contributing on all fronts.

“It’s good to get more security and signing a new contract is something I was looking to do at the start of the season,” he added. “I am loving every minute here and it has been nothing but awesome from everyone.

“The win away sealed off our campaign in Europe so far and there is a real buzz about the group with the whole European situation.

“It was one of those things – we obviously set out to do that at the start of the year but to do it in that style, I don’t think we expected that.”

Tickets for this year's LV= Cup Final on 22 March at Franklin's Gardens are now on sale. Click here to snap one up from just £20 for adults, £10 for juniors to see who will win the first silverware of the season.

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