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Billy called up to cover tourists' back lines


Billy Twelvetrees. Photo: David Davies/PA Wire

Billy Twelvetrees. Photo: David Davies/PA Wire

Billy Twelvetrees. Photo: David Davies/PA Wire

BILLY Twelvetrees has been called up by the British and Irish Lions from England's tour of Argentina to provide back line cover.

The 24-year-old, who can play at centre and fly-half, was to leave Buenos Aires for Australia last night.

The Lions have injury concerns over fly-halves Jonathan Sexton (hamstring) and Owen Farrell (dead leg), while centre Manu Tuilagi suffered a stinger in the win over Queensland Reds.

Twelvetrees won his fifth England cap in last Saturday's 32-3 victory over the Pumas in Salta, scoring a try to cap an impressive individual performance. The Gloucester star will be the fourth player to be called up by the Lions following the late arrivals on tour of loosehead props Alex Corbisiero and Ryan Grant, and Ireland wing Simon Zebo.

Twelvetrees has not been called up as cover for any one player, but to give head coach Warren Gatland additional options and ease the work-load on the fit members of the back division.

The Lions play the New South Wales Waratahs on Saturday and the ACT Brumbies next Tuesday before the first Test against Australia. Gatland said: "The nature of a Lions tour means that there will inevitably be knocks which take time to recover from. The whole squad have worked hard but a lot of the backs have doubled up over the last two games, either starting or from the bench. Billy played well in the first Test for England and he provides that versatility to cover a variety of positions."