Eddie Jones addresses collapse of Wasps and flanker Jack Willis
England head coach Eddie Jones has backed Jack Willis’ history of resilience to help him through a difficult time at Wasps. Flanker Willis was the solitary Wasps player named by Jones among a 36-man squad ahead of the Twickenham appointments with Argentina, Japan, New Zealand and South Africa in November.
The four-time Premiership champions were placed in administration on Monday, with all playing and coaching staff made redundant. Wasps had already been suspended from the Premiership, following fellow crisis club Worcester in seeing their season put on hold, with relegation now awaiting them both.
Wasps were hit by a winding-up order from HM Revenue and Customs for £2million in unpaid tax, and they also face having to repay a £35m bond which had helped finance the club’s relocation to Coventry during 2014. Willis is among numerous players now facing an uncertain future with the Coventry-based club, although the 25-year-old has previously overcome considerable adversity.
Two major knee injuries put his career on hold – either side of being named Premiership player of the season in 2020 – stalling his England progress and restricting him to just four Test match appearances. But there is no doubting the openside’s quality as he prepares to fight for an England back row place in one of the squad’s most competitive areas.
“He is not training with his club, obviously, so we have got some of our staff working with him to make sure he is in the best physical condition,” Jones said. “Everyone feels for Wasps. I feel for their players, I feel for their staff, I feel for their fans, but Jack has an opportunity now and he has got to make the most of it. Good players make the most of it.
“He has got a history of resilience, and he is a good, tough kid. There is an opportunity for him to be in his absolute best physical condition, so that is a great opportunity. All the best players are pretty single-minded about what they want to do. They want to be the best version of themselves and play for England and play in the best England team they can.”
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Great piece Nick - as always. Rassie would snap you up as an analyst - he began his journey in international rugby as just that - for Jake White who has said many times that the WC isn’t won by attack but by defence. And the key to defence is in the centre. Le Roux and Muller, Steyn and Fourie, de Allende and Am pairings have two things in common. WC winners and outstanding defending combinations. Ringrose and Henshaw are very nearly as good on the defence better on attack than and of the SA combinations. If those two combinations (SA and Irish centre parings) face off in the WC first round it is going to be interesting. I think those two combinations are certainly the most settled and arguably the two best in the world.,Go to comments
Great game but boy was that an I’ll tempered crowd. Having spent six months working in Ireland and attending numerous games and coming into contact with the rugby loving people of Dublin I was struck by the Irish courtesy and good sportsmanship. Last night I was bitterly disappointed at the crowd. They booed virtually ever decision that went against them no matter how obvious. I know that crowds all round the world boo - my theory is it started in Australia where barracking and sledging is part of the game - but I had fondly held to the belief I formed ten years ago that the Irish were different. The youngsters offered me their seat on the Dart - something that had never happened anywhere else in my extensive travels. Now that seems to have been lost. I am saddened.Go to comments