Fixtures - Top Bar

Twelvetrees: Gloucester ready for European title defence

Gloucester Rugby may well have a target on their backs in the European Rugby Challenge Cup this year, but skipper Billy Twelvetrees insists they will set out to win six out of six games in the pool stages.

The Cherry & Whites lifted the Challenge Cup trophy in style last season, beating Edinburgh 19-13 in the final at the Twickenham Stoop to become the first ever champions of the newly-formatted competition.

Twelvetrees scored the decisive try in that final, lifting Gloucester’s first European trophy in nine years in his debut season as captain.

And despite the side missing out on qualification for the Champions Cup – after losing out to a last-minute drop-goal in their play-off with Bordeaux-Begles – the 26-year-old England international is adamant the squad are already champing at the bit at the prospect of defending their title.

“The boys are really excited, and to try and defend this trophy is a huge focus for us,” he said. “We all really enjoyed lifting it last year, and we really used that momentum going back into domestic matters as well.

“To be involved again this year is hugely exciting, and while we don’t want to look any further ahead than the pool stages, what worked for us last year was winning six out of six in the pool.

“That gave us a home quarter-final and then a home semi-final, and really gave us the momentum to push on and win the final.

“It’s always a different feeling when you’re going into a European week. You get excited about it, and around the crowd and in the grounds it is a different atmosphere.

“It was really nice getting to the knockout stages last year and it would be amazing to get there again and lift the trophy.

“Every young rugby player has watched Europe growing up and seen the legends that have played in the competition and lifted the trophy, and you definitely want to be part of that.”

Gloucester face French side La Rochelle and newly-promoted Worcester Warriors in the pool stages of the competition, as well as Zebre from Italy.

And with the in-form Pro12 outfit Zebre first up, director of rugby David Humphreys admits a fast start is crucial.

Humphreys said: “We’ve got to start off well. Like ourselves they had a slow start to the season but after the last couple of games, having beaten both Edinburgh and Cardiff, they will come in with a lot more confidence.

“For us it’s about trying to get some winning momentum, as that gives everyone confidence every week no matter where we are playing.

“We had a wonderful experience last year, getting to the final and winning it. It was a huge reward for the players and staff that worked so hard throughout the year and probably our supporters enjoyed it even more than we did.

“So we’re glad to be back in this competition and looking forward to starting our defence.”
 
To see all of the 2015-16 Aviva Premiership Rugby season fixtures, please click here #AvivaPrem
 

Latest News

Match Report: Stade Francais 28 Bath Rugby 25

Bath Rugby narrowly missed out setting up an all-Aviva Premiership Rugby final in the European Rugby Challenge Cup after a…

Aviva Premiership Rugby European wrap: Saracens and Gloucester Rugby celebrate Cup finals

Saracens and Gloucester Rugby are both celebrating places in this season’s European Rugby finals after the Aviva Premiership Rugby sides…

Match Reaction: La Rochelle 14 Gloucester Rugby 16

Gloucester Rugby director of rugby David Humphreys hailed his side’s ‘unbelievable effort’ as they produced a stirring defensive display to…

Match Reaction: Munster 10 Saracens 26

Mark McCall hailed Saracens’ amazing defence after they withstood a first-half assault against Munster and emerged victorious to book a…

Match Report: La Rochelle 14 Gloucester Rugby 16

Billy Burns scored all of Gloucester Rugby’s points and the Cherry & Whites produced an impressive defensive display to down…

Match Report: Munster 10 Saracens 26

Mako Vunipola and Chris Wyles scored vital tries as Saracens booked their place in the European Champions Cup final with…

Saracens ready for titanic Munster challenge

Saracens director of rugby Mark McCall is expecting little sign of weakness from Munster when the two sides clash in…

Sell-out crowds confirmed for Champions Cup semi-finals

The semi-finals of the European Rugby Champions Cup will be played in front of sell-out crowds in Dublin and Lyon…

Sell-out crowds confirmed for Champions Cup semi-finals

England name squad for World Rugby U20 Championship

England have named their 28-man squad for the World Rugby U20 Championship taking place in Georgia (31 May – 18…

Saracens include Lions picks for Munster showdown

Saracens have named all six of their recently-selected British & Irish Lions for their European Rugby Champions Cup semi-final clash…

Dave Attwood returns for Bath Rugby’s European semi-final

Dave Attwood will make his comeback from injury as Bath Rugby face Stade Francais in the European Rugby Challenge Cup…

Willi Heinz and Greig Laidlaw return for Gloucester Rugby’s European semi-final

Gloucester Rugby welcome back scrum-halves Willi Heinz and Greig Laidlaw to the matchday squad as they make five changes to…

Archie White re-signs as Josh McNulty joins Harlequins

Harlequins is excited to announce today (Friday 21st April) that second year Academy Member Archie White has re-signed, while Gloucester…

Archie White

Saracens trio react to England call-ups – Nathan Earle, Nick Isiekwe & Alex Lozowski reaction

Three of Saracens brightest talents could make their international debut this summer, with Nathan Earle joining fellow teammates Alex Lozowski…

Saracens trio react to England call-ups - Nathan Earle, Nick Isiekwe & Alex Lozowski reaction

Jamie George: In-form Owen Farrell can fire Saracens to Aviva Premiership Rugby final once again

Jamie George has every confidence that Owen Farrell can inspire Saracens to go all the way to another Aviva Premiership…

Eddie Jones announces England squad for Argentina tour

Eddie Jones has announced a 31-man squad for England’s two-Test tour to Argentina in June. Dylan Hartley will captain a…

Dylan Hartley

Social media reacts to Premiership Rugby’s 19 Lions

The rise of social media meant it was a Lions squad announcement unlike any other yesterday as players, clubs and…

Delight for young Cranbrook stars as Land Rover Cup win secures Twickenham trip

Just a stone’s throw from England Rugby HQ, Cranbrook U12s sealed an unforgettable trip to Twickenham next month by triumphing…

Broad Plain youngsters set for Twickenham prize after Land Rover Cup triumph

George Keen and his Broad Plain U11s were left overjoyed thanks to Bristol Rugby as they earned a spot for…