sport news 'It's a bit annoying watching England' Billy Twelvetrees has not given up on ...

Appearances can be wildly deceptive. Billy Twelvetrees comes across as a laid-back character, but not when he talks about a home defeat making him 'head-butting-a-wall angry' — and not when he talks about his lost status as a Test player.

The 30-year-old centre has been at the heart of Gloucester's surge into the Premiership play-offs this season. He has formed a potent playmaker alliance with Danny Cipriani and is thriving in Johan Ackermann's transformative regime at Kingsholm.

From the outside he has had the look of a man at peace with the balance of his career these days; all about his club and no longer about his country.

Billy Twelvetrees is chilled-out, but not when he talks about his England career

Billy Twelvetrees is chilled-out, but not when he talks about his England career

Wrong. It turns out that, despite describing himself as 'chilled-out', the fire still rages in Twelvetrees. His often easy-going demeanour masks layers of ambition. He wants to help Gloucester end years of under-achievement by becoming a title-chasing force again. But he hasn't stopped thinking of England, even though his last game was in August 2015.

'I miss it so much,' he said. 'Representing your country is the best thing you can do. I still have a burning desire to do that again. Whether the man in the street says "you're good" or "you're rubbish" or whatever, my goals are still my goals. I will just keep going as hard as I can and keep hoping.

'I really struggle watching England matches. I would try to avoid them altogether but there's a part of me that wants to watch because I know a lot of those guys and I want them to do well. I always end up feeling a bit annoyed because I just think "I've been there and I want that again".'

The 30-year-old centre harbours an ambition to be recalled by the national team

The 30-year-old centre harbours an ambition to be recalled by the national team

Twelvetrees concedes that being overlooked for national service is no longer quite as raw and painful as it once was — especially now that he has the 'distraction' of two young children and another on the way, plus accountancy studies. But it doesn't take much prompting to resurrect memories of when he was forging a Test career.

When England toured New Zealand in 2014, Stuart Lancaster's squad arrived at Dunedin airport for the second Test and there was a special reception for Twelvetrees in the arrivals hall.

He remembers it clearly, saying: 'The security guys gave me the heads-up. They said, "There's a guy down there with a camera crew, wearing a local rugby shirt — he's got 12 trees to give you as a gift, so just be polite when you see him". I just said, "But what am I going to do with the trees?"! They said, "Don't worry, we'll get rid of them".

'I was just this young guy and I didn't know how to handle it. I thought it was quite funny. I managed to say thanks, then we got ushered on to the bus, so they followed us back to our hotel! I said to the security guys, "Can't I go and talk to

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