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'I don't think I'll ever get over that. That will be a scar I hold forever'

By PA
Jack Willis - PA

Jack Willis emerged from an emotionally charged day reflecting on a roller coaster time in his life as he spearheaded England’s victory over Italy.

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Willis scored the opening try and led the defensive effort with a colossal 20 tackles in the 53 minutes he was on the pitch as the Azzurri were dispatched 31-14 in the Guinness Six Nations clash at Twickenham.

In the same fixture in 2021 the 26-year-old suffered a sickening knee injury, resulting in a year out of the game, and this was his first start since falling victim to a ‘crocodile roll’ with such dire consequences.

And the current season has thrown up its own challenges with his only club Wasps entering administration, forcing him to move his family across The Channel to take up a contract at Toulouse.

“I was thinking before the game about two years ago,” the openside flanker said. “It was pretty much two years to this week that I did my knee here against Italy, so it was a little bit emotional leading up to the game.

“It was a long old time ago. I thought about how grateful I am to put the shirt on again, and be out here, after everything that happened with Wasps as well.

“It was devastating what happened at Wasps. I don’t think I’ll ever get over that. That will be a scar I hold forever.

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“But you’ve got to focus week to week because if you try and think about the bigger picture it gets you down a little bit. I’m very lucky to be at a great club that are looking after me in Toulouse.

“I just feel incredibly lucky to be part of this group and hopefully I’ll get another shot in the next few weeks.

“Emotion took over a little bit after the try. There was a lot of emotion I feel to play in an England shirt, and I looked up and saw the crowd.

“To be honest there wasn’t not much work left for me to do, the big boys got me 90 per cent of the way there! I was proud to touch down and look up to see that crowd, that was pretty special.”

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Shaylen 13 hours ago
Brumbies the best team in Australia but still nothing to show for it

The Brumbies have been the strongest side in Australia for a long time and that was down to their forwards and set piece which has always been good and has always been able to dominate their Australian counterparts. This year the lack of maul tries and also the lack of a stable scrum has been a real problem which was also something Nick alluded to in his article this week about the creaking brumbies tight five. Home advantage is key as you say and the Brumbies must find a way to score more bonus points. If the Brumbies are really serious about winning a title they need to do what Kiwi sides at the top do. They need to smash every Aus side with a bonus point at home while claiming losing bonus points in every game they lose and denying their rivals bonus points. In their 3 losses in NZ this year they were smashed. They only scored 60 tries which is middle of the road, their scrum came in at 73% which was one of the worst in the comp, tackle success at just 83% which was right at the bottom and in terms of metres, clean breaks, carries, offloads and rucks built they were in the middle plus they had the most yellows. They basically were just not dominant enough wile they can improve their discipline. They excelled at kicking and won plenty of lineout ball plus their rucks were secure at 97%. Not sure about turnovers but they weren’t bad there. They just need to be more clinical and give away less and they will give themselves the best chance to win the title.

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