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England flanker Jack Willis to make long awaited return this weekend

By Ian Cameron
(Photo by Bob Bradford/CameraSport via Getty Images)

A rising star of England in 2021, Jack Willis is set to make his long-awaited comeback for Wasps this weekend as they take on Gallagher Premiership rivals Harlequins at The Stoop.

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Willis returns to Lee Blackett’s matchday 23 for the first time since January 2021 after being named on the bench.

The 25-year-old suffered a brutal injury against Italy in last year’s Guinness Six Nations, when fellow flanker Sebastian Negri fell on his leg, severely damaging his knee ligaments. It was just his third England cap and he’s spent the last year recovering from a particularly nasty ACL injury.

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Luke Cowan-Dickie, Six Nations Review and Sinckler’s Sauna | RugbyPass Offload | Episode 21

We’re joined by England’s Luke Cowan-Dickie this week as the Six Nations squads take a break after two rounds of action. We hear from the Exeter Hooker about his journey with England and the Lions, his relationship with Eddie Jones and of course that volleyball moment in Edinburgh during the Calcutta Cup. Max and Ryan give their thoughts on the weekend battles in Cardiff, Paris and Rome, pick their team of the week and look forward to the rest of the tournament.

Video Spacer

Luke Cowan-Dickie, Six Nations Review and Sinckler’s Sauna | RugbyPass Offload | Episode 21

We’re joined by England’s Luke Cowan-Dickie this week as the Six Nations squads take a break after two rounds of action. We hear from the Exeter Hooker about his journey with England and the Lions, his relationship with Eddie Jones and of course that volleyball moment in Edinburgh during the Calcutta Cup. Max and Ryan give their thoughts on the weekend battles in Cardiff, Paris and Rome, pick their team of the week and look forward to the rest of the tournament.

It’s been a long road back to heath for Willis, who will be eager to once again start making a case for England selection.

Elswehere, there are six personnel changes and one positional switch from the team that beat Bath last Saturday.

Jack’s brother Tom Willis and Jacob Umaga also return to the side, as they start at number eight and full-back respectively.

Ryan Mills makes his first Wasps start since September 2020, after coming off the bench to assist two tries against Bath last week. He shares the center position with Sam Spink. In the absence of Joe Launchbury, who is away with England, Dan Robson captains the side from scrum-half. Robson and Charlie Atkinson are back as the half-back pairing.

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Ben Morris and Vaea Fifita join Tom Willis in the back row, while Brad Shields is sidelined with a rib injury and Alfie Barbeary is in England training camp.

In the back three, Umaga is joined by Paolo Odogwu and Josh Bassett.

WASPS TEAM:
1 Tom West
2 Tom Cruse
3 Biyi Alo
4 James Gaskell
5 Elliott Stooke
6 Vaea Fifita
7 Ben Morris
8 Tom Willis
9 Dan Robson
10 Charlie Atkinson
11 Josh Bassett
12 Ryan Mills
13 Sam Spink
14 Paolo Odogwu
15 Jacob Umaga

REPLACEMENTS: Gabriel Oghre, Robin Hislop, Jeffery Toomaga-Allen, Nizaam Carr, Jack Willis, Will Porter, Jimmy Gopperth, Marcus Watson (64)

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Turlough 1 hours ago
Jean de Villiers' three word response to 'best in the world' debate

This ‘raging’ debate is only happenning in media circles and has never been a topic in Ireland (although SA media are interested). It makes the media companies money I guess. SA are RWC champions and #1 ranked team although Ireland are back within a point there. The facts point to SA. For a lot of 2021 France beat ALL their rivals and Ireland similar in 2022-2023. It is not wrong to say that on such form either can be deemed to be the current best team if they have beaten all their rivals and ranked #1. The ‘have to have won a world cup’ stipulation is nonsense. The world cup draw and scheduling has been tailored to the traditional big teams since the start. The scheduling also which sees the big teams sheltered from playing a hard pool match the week before has also been a constant. It is extraordinary that for example France have made so many finals. Ireland who were realistically only contenders in 2023 were in a Pool with two other top 5 teams and had to play one of them 7 days before a quarter final against France or New Zealand. Always going to be a coin toss. Scotland’s situation was worse. New Zealand had great chances in 1995, 1999, 2007 but they could not win a tight RWC match. The first tight match they ever won was versus France in the 2011 final, literally they lost every other tight match before that. Some of those NZ teams around that era were #1 surely?

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