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Wales and England might regret stepping onto the coaching merry-go-round.

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The new club making a play for Toulouse's England flanker Willis

By Ian Cameron
Jack Willis - Getty

A new club has entered the fray in a major bid to sign England flanker Jack Willis, who currently plies his trade in France.


The former Wasp has proved a major success for Toulouse since signing for the French giants in the wake of the financial collapse of the Coventry-based Gallagher Premiership side. Maybe the most sought-after signature as clubs far and wide fought over the carcass of the English club, Willis has quickly become an important part of Ugo Mola’s Stade Toulousain squad.

Now Top 14 rivals Bordeaux Begles are in hot pursuit of the Englishman, with Midi Olympique reporting that the west coast club have opened discussions with the player.

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Bordeaux’s big-name signing ahead of next season has been France winger Damian Penaud from Clermont, but their other confirmed recruits to date have been a little more modest in ambition. Could Willis be their star forward signing going into the next campaign?

Given the exceptional nature of his former club’s collapse, Willis is a selection option for Steve Borthwick and is indeed part of his England squad for the Guinness Six Nations. That door would almost certainly close if were to sign a new contract with a Top 14 side.

Willis made his first XV debut for Wasps at Sale in November 2016 in the Anglo-Welsh Cup, with his Premiership bow coming later the same month also against the Sharks.

Willis has overcome serious knee and ankle injuries to emerge as a devastating poacher in the Premiership. In 2020 he was voted Rugby Players’ Association player of the year following an outstanding season in which he has become English rugby’s most effective breakdown operator.


During spells rehabilitating serious knee and ankle injuries, Willis came to the understanding that he needed to plan for life beyond rugby union and so took up an evening plumbing course with his brother Tom at Warwickshire College Group.

additional reporting PA


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