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Injured England flanker Jack Willis has issued an update on how long he will be out of the game

By Liam Heagney
(Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)

Wasps flanker Jack Willis has posted the second episode of The Rebuild 2.0, his mini-documentary series charting his recovery from the serious knee injury suffered while playing for England during the Guinness Six Nations in February. In episode one, Willis revealed the full extent of the damage when he was crocodile rolled away from a Twickenham ruck by Italy’s Sebastian Negri.

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“So I have torn my MCL (medial collateral ligament) off the bone at the bottom, torn a bit off the top as well, so I am going to need that fully repaired. Torn both menisci, the medial meniscus from the root one side. Pretty gutted. I could be out for up to a year. Not really sure how I feel about it at the moment.”  

A month further down the recovery track, he has now shed light on when he expects to be back playing and it is a timeframe that is more encouraging than initially thought. “Going into the operation there is a few different options of how it was going to turn out and we knew it was going to be medium to long term and fortunately the operation went really well,” explained England back row Willis in the six-minute segment.  

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“There was still enough to cling on to the PCL that it meant that they could repair it rather than scrape it out and reconstruct it with a hamstring graft. It’s looking like nine to ten months which sounds like a very long time – and it is a long time – but it could have been a year, so I have taken that as a positive immediately and started ticking down the days.”

Wasps head physio Ali James added: “I’m over the moon with his progress. You can see the knee settling down really well and it is great to see he is regaining that full knee extension really quickly. Pain is very well managed, he is in great spirits so we couldn’t be in a better place at the minute.”

The footage in episode two starts with Willis in his post-op hospital bed and then being driven home. It also covers his first return to the Wasps training ground at Broadstreet RFC. “First day back in at Wasps. Not seen most of the boys or staff since I went into England camp, so it will be really nice to see them all. First time in since the op as well… excited to be back in. 

“It’s always quite nerve-wracking your first day back. You want to catch up with everyone but you’re also a bit distracted by making sure you are not slipping on your knee, you just want to get to the physio bed and get checked in. It’s a weird feeling, especially with how long I have been away. You miss the boys a lot, faces you haven’t seen for a while. There was lots to catch up on. I wasn’t nervous, it was more excitement just to get back cracking and see everyone.”

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Turlough 44 minutes 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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