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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)

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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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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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