REPORTS | Ireland attempted to poach 'incredible' English back-rower - Ruck

REPORTS | Ireland attempted to poach ‘incredible’ English back-rower

Reports have emerged that Ireland attempted to convince former England U20 captain Jack Willis to make the move across the Irish sea.

An attempt from the IRFU to bring the Irish-qualified flanker to Ulster with the view of representing Ireland was made in late 2019, according to The Rugby Paper.

RUCK understands this move was only stopped by England head coach Eddie Jones personally intervening to assure Willis that he’s in his future plans.

The 23-year-old was selected for England’s summer trip of South Africa in 2018, but sustained a serious knee injury in that year’s Premiership semi-final against Saracens and was unable to tour.

However, following standout performances against Northampton Saints and Worcester Warriors since the restart, Willis is now expected to feature for England in the upcoming Six Nations and Autumn Internationals.

“Jack Willis was my player of the weekend,” said Monye on the BBC’s Rugby Union Weekly podcast following his performance against Saints.

“He was so unlucky a couple of years ago with his knee injury, but to come back in the way in which he has – not just him, but the team – they’re flying.

“There’s been a lot of change, Lee Blackett has come in (as head coach), but the Wasps machine charges on.”

Harlequins’ England international wing Chris Ashton believes more performances of a similar level could see Willis called up to the national team once more.

He added: “I don’t think Eddie will give a second’s thought about swapping people out and putting him in. The type of coach he is, he doesn’t mind. If he sees it’s progress, they’re in.”


LIST | 5 players we’d like to see Eddie Jones call up…

1. Alex Dombrandt (Harlequins)

Quins boss Paul Gustard compared the back-rower to Fiji superstar Leone Nakarawa after the 22 year old responded to England disappointment in emphatic style with a blockbuster attacking display against Saracens. He’s someone who can make something out of nothing.