Injury won't harm Billy - Davies
11:35am Friday 9th May 2014 in © Press Association 2014
Missing England's New Zealand tour through ankle trouble would not jeopardise Billy Twelvetrees' Rugby World Cup 2015 chances, according to his club boss.
Twelvetrees has been ruled out of action for "four to six weeks" by Gloucester rugby director Nigel Davies, leaving only slim chances of him making England's All Blacks challenge next month.
England head coach Stuart Lancaster will be forced to take at least 40 players for the three-Test tour with the first New Zealand clash just seven days after the Aviva Premiership final.
Gloucester's versatile playmaker Twelvetrees is the latest in a long line of top stars likely to miss the June series, with Tom Croft, Alex Corbisiero and Tom Youngs all ruled out earlier this week.
Kingsholm boss Davies does not expect Twelvetrees' long-term England chances to be dented if he fails to recover in time for New Zealand.
"Stuart Lancaster has shown a lot of faith in Billy and that's great," said Davies.
"So he's in the mix in the bigger picture of the World Cup.
"What's important for all the players with international ambitions next year, effectively, is next season.
"The most important thing is for players to get themselves in the right state of fitness and frame of mind for a big season next year.
"One of Billy's big strengths is that he's very robust as a rugby player and doesn't tend to pick up too many injuries.
"It's unfortunate for him because overall he's had a very good season.
"It's a double-edged sword, the more exposure to international rugby your players get, the better they become.
But Billy's had a long period of rugby, so to freshen up now and get on top of things for next season may not be a bad thing."
Twelvetrees suffered ankle damage in Gloucester's 38-30 victory over London Irish at Kingsholm on Saturday.
The former Leicester pivot will miss Gloucester's final Premiership game of the season against Worcester this weekend, but could also be sidelined for bigger summer challenges.
England take on New Zealand in the first Test in Auckland on June 7, leaving Twelvetrees battling to return even in time for the second clash a week later.
"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 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."