"Complete Workhorse" Jack Willis Breaks Defensive Record in Heineken Champions Cup - Ruck

“Complete Workhorse” Jack Willis Breaks Defensive Record in Heineken Champions Cup

Jack Willis has once again come to the attention of rugby fans, as he put in an outstanding performance against Leinster last weekend. Despite the 41-22 loss seeing Toulouse eliminated from the Heineken Champions Cup, Willis put in an unreal shift against the Dubliners, setting the mark for defensive work-rate in the competition.

Ange Capuozzo of Italy is tackled by Jack Willis of England during the Six Nations Match between England and Italy at Twickenham, London on 12 Feb 2023 (Photo: Tom Sandberg/PPAUK)

According to statistical experts Opta, Willis hit 21 defensive rucks against Leinster. No player in the Champions Cup has worked harder defensively at the breakdown than this all season. Willis has given the RFU yet another reason to take notice, as his England future remains uncertain.

Will recently put pen to paper, and signed a three-year contract extension with Toulouse. This may see him breach the current ‘exceptional circumstances’ clause, which allows the back-rower to play for England, after the financial collapse of Wasps left Willis with no home in the Premiership.

Also, Willis presented his all-rounder abilities, as he made 14 carries over the gain-line against Leinster. Opta stats confirm that just two players have made more carries than him in a single Champions Cup match this year. Edinburgh’s Pierre Schoeman and Exeter Chiefs Sam Simmonds both achieved 15 carries during one fixture.