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England
Twelvetrees to miss first England Test
ESPN Staff
May 8, 2014
Billy Twelvetrees is a huge doubt for England's tour of New Zealand © Getty Images
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England face an anxious wait over the fitness of Billy Twelvetrees with the centre facing up to six weeks on the sidelines.

Twelvetrees limped off against London Irish at the weekend with an ankle injury while on Gloucester duty. With England kicking off their tour of New Zealand on June 7 against the All Blacks, Twelvetrees is likely to miss that Test and faces a race against time to be available for their second game on June 14.

"It looks like an injury that will be between four to six weeks before it's right, so not great for him, obviously, Billy having had such a good season overall," said Gloucester boss Nigel Davies. "It's not ligaments, it's a relatively minor injury in his ankle, but it will stop him from playing for between four to six weeks.

"It doesn't need an intervention at this stage. He's had a long period of rugby if you think about the tours as well with England and going with the Lions last summer. So it will give him a good chance to have a good pre-season and hit next season on top form."

The news will come as a huge blow to Stuart Lancaster who is already without a host of front-line players. On Wednesday, England announced Alex Corbisiero, Christian Wade, Tom Croft and Jack Nowell were all unfit to tour to New Zealand while Tom Youngs was ruled out due to personal reasons.

The England side that runs out in that first Test is likely to show a raft of changes from the one that started against Italy in the final match of the Six Nations. What with the close proximity of the Aviva Premiership final to England's first Test, players involved in that game will miss the match in Auckland against the All Blacks.

With Twelvetrees out injured, England will need to find a new inside centre and who that man is depends on how the Premiership pans out. Should Leicester and Saracens reach the Premiership final on May 31, Lancaster would be without Manu Tuilagi and Brad Barritt for the first Test. If Northampton Saints reach the final then England must do without Luther Burrell and if Bath reach the final, Kyle Eastmond would be unavailable.

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd

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