LONDON (AP) — Jack Willis could make an unlikely return for England in the Six Nations match against Grand Slam-seeking France in Paris on Saturday.
Willis was picked into the squad for the first time since suffering a serious knee injury in last year’s championship. The breakdown specialist tore the medial collateral ligament from the bone in two places and suffered extensive damage to the meniscus. He only made his return for his club Wasps last month.
With Tom Curry ruled out against France with a hamstring problem suffered in the 32-15 loss to Ireland on Saturday that ended England’s title prospects, Willis was briefed by the coach Eddie Jones that he could be involved at the Stade de France.
The more likely option is for Sam Underhill to be reinstated in the back row for his first Six Nations appearance, but Jones is not ruling out bringing in Willis.
“Jack is obviously an option but I would need to see him practice tomorrow (Tuesday),” Jones said.
“He showed a lot of resilience and a lot of determination. I was really happy to see him play against Northampton yesterday. We know he’s a very promising player and he’s still only 25 years old. Coming back from such a difficult injury is a great testament to his resilience. I’m sure he will add value to the team.
Winger Yoram Moefana was ruled out with a knee injury against Wales after facing England. Moefana has started the last three Tests – scored a try against Scotland – and came off the bench in the opener against Italy.
Clermont’s uncapped center Tani Vili joined a squad that included winger Damian Penaud and lock Romain Taofifenua, who missed the game against Wales while self-isolating with COVID-19.
Locks James Ryan and Ryan Baird were ruled out of their home final against Scotland on Saturday.
Ryan suffered a concussion against England from a jaw-dropping frontal tackle from Charlie Ewels, which ended the game in the second minute for the boarded-up Ewels and injured Ryan.
Baird, a first-round substitute against Wales and a third-round starter against Italy, suffered a back injury.
Their uncapped Leinster teammates Ross Molony and 20-year-old Joe McCarthy have joined the squad. Molony has featured in the Irish squads while McCarthy made his Leinster debut in January.
More than likely, Iain Henderson will start with second-tier Tadhg Beirne on Saturday at Lansdowne Road, and Kieran Treadwell, a substitute who scored a try against Italy, will be on reserve.
Wales will name their squad two days early on Tuesday to face Italy in Cardiff, and the question will be whether manager Wayne Pivac gives Alun Wyn Jones a record 150th national cap.
Jones has not played since re-injuring his left shoulder in October against New Zealand and undergoing surgery. It became available on Saturday. Pivac has already said Dan Biggar will continue as Wales captain on Saturday in his 100th Test for the country.
Former international strikers Fraser Brown and Scott Cummings have been called up to the practice squad. Additionally, Glasgow prop Murphy Walker and Scotland Sevens winger Jordan Edmunds have received their first call-ups.
Benetton uncapped stalwart Filippo Alongi has joined the team.
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