Horror Jack Willis injury sees play stopped for seven minutes in Six Nations clash against Italy as former England international Ugo Monye leads calls to ban the ‘crocodile roll’ that injured the Wasps flanker
- Jack Willis scored a try just after the hour before suffering a serious injury
- The 24-year-old twisted his left knee after jackaling in the ruck against Italy
- Willis let out a scream after the incident and was eventually stretchered off
- The flanker previously suffered an ACL injury that kept him out for nine months
- England went on to win 41-18 to make up for last weekend’s loss to Scotland
England were left fearing the worst after Jack Willis was carried off the pitch with an excruciating knee injury.
The flanker’s knee buckled horribly when he was rolled out of a ruck in the second half of the 41-18 victory over Italy.
Willis’s cries of agony rang out through the empty stadium and he received medical treatment on the pitch before being driven off on a buggy.
Jack Willis’ Six Nations saw him score his second try for England before his afternoon soured
The flanker was in agony after twisting his left knee after being the victim of a ‘crocodile roll’
Eddie Jones said: ‘We’re all concerned. He’s on crutches and will be examined on Sunday. It didn’t look good, and it is probably not good, but we will wait and see.’
Jones may now call up injury cover for the trip to Wales, with Northampton Saints’ Lewis Ludlam an option.
Former Scotland lock Jim Hamilton said: ‘Feel sick for Jack Willis. The laws should change now. Don’t allow players to be rolled out of rucks. So dangerous.
‘I rolled many players out. No criticism on players doing it. It’s currently legal. Some serious high-profile injuries in the last few years. Dan Levy. Ellis Jenkins (I think) similar.’
The nasty injury to Willis overshadowed England’s win at Twickenham in the Six Nations as Eddie Jones’ men got their 2021 campaign up and running.
Play was stopped for seven minutes before Willis was stretchered off to widespread concern
After a shock loss to Scotland last weekend at their spiritual home for the first time in 38 years, the hosts were eager to make amends against the tournament whipping boys but got off to a bad start when Monty Ioane went over in just the third minute, before tries from Jonny Hill, Anthony Watson and a spectacular effort from Jonny May helped put England 20-8 up at half-time.
A second try from Watson was followed by a five-point score from Willis as Jones’ men put clear water between them and the Azzurri.
However, Willis’ game was to suffer a premature end just three minutes after his key contribution when he became the victim of a ‘crocodile roll’ as he was rolled sideways while jackaling in the ruck, twisting his left knee while his feet were planted in the grass.
The 24-year-old, who suffered an ACL injury in May 2018 that kept him for nine months, let out a scream after the incident and clutched his injured knee as play was stopped for seven minutes before the Wasps flanker was stretchered off to widespread sympathy.
And I rolled many players out. No criticism on players doing it. It’s currently legal.
Some serious high profile injuries in the last few years.
Dan Levy. Ellis Jenkins (I think) similar. https://t.co/Bdto1SqUlJ
— Jim (@jimhamilton4) February 13, 2021
A crocodile roll is legal, but it is has long been the subject of debate and ITV pundit and former England international Ugo Monye was among those to issue fresh calls for the manoeuvre to be banned.
‘We often talk about health and safety in rugby and how we try to bring in laws to protect people in vulnerable positions,’ he said.
‘Jack Willis has this incredible ability of being so flexible and getting so low in the ruck, but when you are being hit from multiple directions when your studs are planted into the grass, it has got to be banned.
The flanker previously suffered an ACL injury that kept him out for most of the 2018-19 season
‘For me, it just has to be outlawed because we know the size of the players. We are able to hear every collison.
‘When you have players trying to hit you north to south and others trying to roll you east to west (as Willis was), you end up with horrific injuries like that.’
Both sides scored a converted try apiece after Willis’ debut, with Tommaso Allan scoring first before Elliot Daly rounded off proceedings as England temporarily went top of the table.
Eddie Jones was understandably subdued after the match when asked about Willis’ condition