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. 

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“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). 

“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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