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'That's up to the referee to interpret': Eddie Jones on the crocodile roll that seriously injured Jack Willis

By Liam Heagney
(Photo by Dan Mullan/The RFU Collection via Getty Images)

Eddie Jones refused to be drawn into the debate surrounding the tackle that left Jack Willis stretchered off at Twickenham with a serious knee injury during Saturday’s 41-18 win by England over Italy in round two of the Guinness Six Nations.

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The 24-year-old Willis came off the England bench on 58 minutes to win his third cap and despite quickly scoring a try, his appearance lasted a mere six minutes as his knee buckled when he was crocodile rolled out of a ruck by Sebastian Negri, about whom they were a subsequent online debate as to whether he illegally played the man as he seemed to be off his feet at the time of the tackle.

The sickening injury left Willis taken away on a medical cart and no action was taken by match referee Mike Adamson, who was refereeing his first Six Nations game. England boss Jones preferred not to comment on the tackle in the aftermath. 

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“I have got no comment to make on that. That is up to the referee to interpret,” he said. “I always leave those things to the referee. The referee has got to make a decision on whether it is safe or not and we abide by whatever decision the referee makes.”

As for an update on the seriousness of the injury suffered by Willis, Jones added: “We are all concerned. He is on crutches. He will be examined tomorrow [Sunday]. Obviously, it didn’t look good, it’s probably not good, we’ll just wait and see. He has got some sort of knee injury, he is on crutches, he is back in the dressing room with us.”

England’s win got their Six Nations title defence back on track following last weekend’s Twickenham ambush by Scotland, but Jones believes there is still much work to be done before they face-off against Wales in Cardiff later this month in round three. 

“We have got to get better set-piece dominance,” he suggested. “We haven’t in the two games so far been able to exert enough consistent pressure through our scrum or through our lineout. And an ability to execute opportunities. They would be the two areas (to improve). 

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“We’d prefer to be on eight points, we’re on six points. Really pleased with the attitude of the players today, the positivity, the energy. Execution, we have still got a little bit of work to do but that’s okay and we’ll get ready for Wales.”

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Tim 13 hours ago
'It’s a mental thing': Joe Schmidt on the Wallabies' flyhalf issues

Ben Donaldson had not played Super Rugby for the past eight weeks. Surely, he was playing Shute Shield for Randwick in that time to keep up the fitness…?? Eight weeks is a long break to be thrust in against a hungry skillful side like Georgia who deserve to be in the “7 Nations”. (Italy, Wales & Scotland v Georgia, can’t wait to see those ones). In the second test against Wales, Donaldson was put on for nine minutes. That was a mistake from the coaching team, who already knew he was starting the following week against Georgia. They should have put him on for 20-25 minutes, with Nick Whyte at halfback, and their combination from the Force would have flowed. Donaldsons first 20 minutes against Georgia was a shocker. However, well done to Joe Schmidt for keeping him out there because Donaldsons game improved as the rust came off, he was hammered a few times and handled it and he came into his groove. He made mistakes which they will all learn from. Ben Donaldson is a naturally talented rugby player who the Wallabies have to stick with at no.10. “Over the black Dot-aldson” is a good nick name for him with his awesome goal kicking style. It looks as though, off the boot, it’s going to hit the post. Then it just curves in beautifully every time, once he is in the groove. Donaldsons play this season for the Force, with Kurtley and co., was amazing to watch. Kurtley making one of the best comebacks in history. Donaldson has to be played consistently with Flash Gordon, Big LEN, McReight, Tupou, Kellaway. Oh, that’s right, there is Bell, Kerevi, Petaia (This list does go on a bit). Donaldson will be slotting these weapons into gaps, and into the clear, before we know it… One more thing which I will just assume is happening, just include JOC in the Wallabies squad. He is a rugby genius. His skills, wisdom and experience would be infectious around the Wallabies relatively inexperienced backline. JOC has mastered the art of all the positions long ago. JOC is so skilled and match fit atm taking THE REDS, at no.10, within a point of beating Wales. He can come off the bench and slot into the backline for the Wallabies at 10, 12, 13 or 15 at any stage of a test match. Ummm yeah, not bad… I am assuming that BIG JOE, Laurie “Gandalf” Fischer, Mike “The scrum Doctor” Cron and the team obviously already know all this. I am just a passionate rugby union supporter, and I am very happy that these guys are in charge of the coaching duties, what a coaching team the Wallabies have been blessed with. (Good luck with selecting the match day 23 when Will Skelton, who was playing amazing rugby for La Rochelle, and the boys return from Europe/Japan, Samu Kerevi…???) Now just imagine having Bernie Larkham, Toutai Kefu, Nathan Grey and John “Nobody” Eales as your coaching apprentices… GO AUSTRALIAN RUGBY… Doing a great job Phil Waugh, Joe Roff, Dan Herbert and the team. An amazing three years ahead. GO THE WALLABIES… GO THE WALLAROOS… GO THE 7’s in Paris…

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