England flanker Jack Willis has vowed “I will be back” as he begins the long road to recovery from the horrific knee injury suffered against Italy.
Wasps have confirmed that Willis is facing a “long time out” after a scan revealed extensive damage to his left leg after he was pulled out of a ruck in Saturday’s 41-18 Guinness Six Nations victory at Twickenham.
A precise timeframe for his rehabilitation has yet to be provided, but Willis has declared on social media that he intends to return from another major spell on the sidelines a better player.
“The highs and lows of rugby... I have loved every second of training and playing in an England shirt and it has been a dream come true to be involved in such a great group of lads and coaches. I’m truly gutted with the way it ended on Saturday but these things happen...” he said.
“I will give everything I can to my rehab to come back a better and stronger player. Thank you so much for all the messages and support I’ve received it really is appreciated. I will be back.”
Willis’ leg buckled awkwardly when Sebastian Negri used the legal but contentious ‘crocodile roll’ technique to twist him out of the ruck. Italy’s blindside flanker has apologised to Willis.
ITV chose not to show replays of an incident that happened shortly after the 24-year-old turnover specialist had scored his second try in three appearances for England.
“It sounds like he has done quite a few things with his knee,” Wasps head coach Lee Blackett said. “It’s pretty serious, but it looks like he has not done his ACL. He will spend a long time out, I should imagine.”
Willis was named in England’s squad for their 2018 tour to South Africa but had to withdraw because of a serious injury to his right knee, before his career endured the additional setback of a significant ankle problem.
The reigning player of the season broke into Eddie Jones’ squad for the first time last autumn, only to endure this latest interruption to his promising international career.
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