Jack Willis says England return helped him overcome ‘mental hurdles’ after his horror knee injury

England flanker Jack Willis says his Twickenham return helped him overcome ‘mental hurdles’ after horror knee injury last year – as he targets victory on summer tour of Australia

Jack Willis has admitted he overcame ‘mental hurdles’ when putting his Twickenham hoodoo to bed on his England return against the Barbarians last Sunday.

Now the Wasps flanker hopes to continue his return to fitness by helping Eddie Jones’s side to a series victory in Australia this summer.

In February 2021, Willis suffered a catastrophic knee injury at Twickenham when he appeared off the bench in a Six Nations clash against Italy. He spent a year on the sidelines.

England flanker Jack Willis has completed a remarkable recovery from a horror knee injury

He featured for England at the same venue for the first time since that Azzurri clash in the Barbarians game.

‘I was overcoming a few mental hurdles coming off the bench at Twickenham again,’ said Willis. ‘I think I’d probably dealt with those real battles a long time ago, but there were a few reminders.

‘I woke up thinking about the scenario unfolding, of me coming off the bench, and thought, ‘Oh, that’s how it unfolded last time’.

‘I feel like I’ve been on a long road now over the last couple of years. There have definitely been some low points, but I’ve had that burning desire to put that England shirt on again.

‘It makes me feel like I’m getting better each day and it’s pushing me to my max. It’s something I’ve dreamt of since being a little lad.’

The 25-year-old spent a year on the sidelines after suffering a knee injury against Italy

The 25-year-old spent a year on the sidelines after suffering a knee injury against Italy

England’s warm-up for a crunch three-Test tour of Australia ended in humiliating fashion as Jones’s side conceded 50 points to a 14-man Barbarians team. As preparations go, it was far from ideal.

‘The good thing is there are some big learnings for the tour to Australia,’ Willis said of the 52-21 defeat. 

‘We weren’t good enough at the breakdown. The breakdown has got to improve. If we want to play the way we want to in attack, we’ve got to be more clinical around that.

‘Whoever is selected for Australia needs to put their best foot forward to replicate what happened in 2016 (when England took the series 3-0).’

Willis suffered a catastrophic knee injury against Italy at Twickenham in February 2021

Willis suffered a catastrophic knee injury against Italy at Twickenham in February 2021

Meanwhile, Leicester’s title-winning centre Matias Moroni has signed for Newcastle after he confirmed his departure from the Tigers in the wake of the Twickenham final.

Argentina international Moroni revealed he did not want to leave Steve Borthwick’s side, but had no option other than to do so.

‘I am thankful to everyone at Tigers and will take only good memories from my time there,’ said Moroni.

‘Although I wanted to stay, I have to leave. It came as a bit of a shock but it was out of my hands.’

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk

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