Brian Dick: Why Billy's left me feeling smug
I love that feeling when the rest of the world cottons on to something you’ve known for months.
It doesn’t happen very often, indeed most of my ‘Told you so’ moments usually involve my eldest daughter realising the jetty isn’t quite as long or as wide as she believes it to be and her plunging headlong into yet another aquatic learning experience.
Even then – having been hoicked out tout suite – she stands indignant and dripping back on terra firma and defiantly refuses to recognise my foresight.
It is for this reason, then, that I am forced to use the Birmingham Post’s pages to slap my own back and claim I foretold Billy Twelvetrees’ arrival in the consciousness of the national media.
The 20-year-old made his Leicester debut in Sunday’s thrilling Heineken Cup match with the Ospreys and not only scored a try but kicked the goal to earn his side a draw.
He also claimed an assist and put in an all-round demonstration in the art of centre-play that had the masses gushing.
That performance should come as no surprise to those who watched the youngster tear it up for Bedford in National One last year.
Even though his form dipped midway through the campaign, 36, as he is known, (according to Irish team-mate Geordan Murphy 12 trees are tirty-six), showed enough last season to prove his value to everyone at Goldington Road and quite a few beyond too.
Six foot, three inches and 16 stone Twelvetrees has the size to be a success in the Premiership and the pace and hands to be a sensation in international rugby.
Quite why Leicester released him to Bedford for the season is beyond me.
Anyway he’s back and pulling up trees and supporters of rugby outside the top flight should be rooting for him and pray that the media leaf him alone. Small acorns and all that.
His emergence set me thinking, where is the next William Twelvetrees? The Championship has some mighty fine players and coaches and it can only be that most directors of rugby in the GP are either too blind, too busy or too arrogant to not think of looking.
So for those of them that care, here’s a few suggestions.
Any club looking for a ball carrying second row could do a lot worse than get down to Billesley Common to see Aly Muldowney.
Not to damn the 26-year-old with faint praise there are worse locks at every club in the Premiership.
That said there aren’t many better in the Championship and paired with the right second row partner Muldowney’s ball-carrying and off-loading could be a breath of fresh air up there. His hands are of the highest quality.
His conditioning and work off the ball are not those of a full-timer but judging by the progress he’s made this summer and in the six games so far this term he is making rapid strides.
In a full-time set up the former Stourbridge forward could be an absolute revelation.
Bees’ Chris Brightwell is another. The New Zealander might not be the best interview on the green earth but to compensate he is an outstanding blindside flanker.
I understand he is having a trial at Gloucester this week and would be surprised if he doesn’t elicit some form of interest, even if it is not in the form of an instant contract.
Perhaps Kingsholm might not be the best place for the speedy back row, though. I’d like to see him in the Bath or London Irish set up where his pace and ball-skills would be a better fit for a more free-flowing style of rugby.
Brightwell was a sensation in National Two and has shown flashes of his ability in difficult circumstances this term and while I wish no further player losses on Russell Earnshaw he should consider every day he has Brightwell in his team a bonus.
Speaking of Earnshaw, the player-coach presided over one of the most exciting and audacious campaigns in a generation of Midlands rugby last term.
He is hard pressed to re-create it this year but even now Bees show flashes of brilliance that will trouble everyone in the division as they attack from their own sticks and cut massed defences to ribbons.
His commitment and emotional investment into what some perceive to be a basket case has been commendable and I’d love to see him in charge of a club with a proper budget, hopefully the new Birmingham & Solihull.
My fear is that he’ll be lost to the Sevens arena for good if things don’t work out at Sharmans Cross Road and that we’ll never find out what sort of side he could build with £1 million.
I just hope I get the chance to tell you I told you so and trust that you’ll be suitably deferent when it comes.