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Toulouse statement: Jack Willis contract extension confirmed

By Liam Heagney
(Photo by Ben Whitley/PA Images via Getty Images)

French giants Toulouse have confirmed a contract extension for Jack Willis, a decision that will place the international future of the England back row in jeopardy. Willis joined the Top 14 club in November a month after Wasps fell into administration.

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Because it was an emergency move made in special circumstances, Willis was allowed to continue to be selected by England during the recent Guinness Six Nations despite its rule of not selecting players based outside the country.

That dispensation for Willis is set to end after the upcoming Rugby World Cup, meaning that he would have to move back to the Gallagher Premiership in order to remain available for England selection.

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However, despite calls from England head coach Steve Borthwick for the RFU to loosen the regulations governing non-Premiership-based players, there has been no indication that a change will happen and the official news that Willis will now stay on in France seems set to place his Test career into hibernation.

A Toulouse statement read: “It’s official – our English back row is staying and is signing up for three new seasons (including two as an option). He is thus part of the club’s 2027 trajectory.”

The development was accompanied by a 40-second video of Willis speaking in French and announcing to Toulouse fans that he has decided to stay on with the club for the foreseeable future. Toulouse, with Willis a starter in their pack, last weekend won their way into a Heineken Champions Cup semi-final versus Leinster with a quarter-final win over the Sharks.

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