Horror Jack Willis injury halts England v Italy Six Nations match amid calls for law change

England’s Jack Willis suffered a serious knee injury amid horrible scenes during the England v Italy Six Nations match.

Willis could be heard screaming in agony after he was rolled out of a ruck by an Italian player, twisting his knee in the process.

The match was halted immediately by the officials and didn’t resume for seven minutes while medics tended to the stricken flanker, who eventually left on a stretcher.

Willis was jackaling at a ruck, with his feet planted into the ground, when he was the victim of a ‘crocodile roll’ that saw him rolled and twisted out of the ruck by an opposition player.

Although the tactic is legal, it has long been the source of controversy with many calling for it to be outlawed.

And ITV co-commentator Ugo Monye was quick to call on rugby’s law-makers to make a change in the immediate aftermath of this incident.

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“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.

“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, you end up with horrific injuries like that.”

ITV decided not to show a close-up replay of the incident because it was too graphic, but did eventually broadcast a wider angle of what happened.

Italy player Sebastian Negri has since issued a public apology to Willis.

Following the match, England coach Eddie Jones issued an update on Willis, saying: “We are all concerned, he is 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. ‘It’s some sort of knee injury, but he’s back in the dressing room with us.”

Monye was not the only player to call for action. Former Scotland international Jim Hamilton also demanded an immediate ban on social media, as did many fans.

Willis had scored a try minutes earlier after coming on as a replacement in a 41-18 victory.


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