England: Jack Willis ‘nearly there’ as he secures his future past this season with ‘financial stability’ a deciding factor
Jack Willis missed just one Six Nations match this year, but his England future post the Rugby World Cup is in doubt as he looks set to re-sign with Toulouse.
Willis joined Toulouse after Wasps entered administration, and with his current contract coming to an end, he must make a call on where to ply his trade next season.
Changing the eligibility laws
After Wasps and Worcester players were forced to find opportunities elsewhere this season, England implemented a special dispensation allowing Willis, and other players who signed deals outside the Premiership, to feature for England during the Six Nations.
However, that agreement is set to expire after the World Cup, and Willis is closing in on a contract extension with Toulouse that would end his international career if there is no alteration in England’s selection policies.
The 26-year-old hopes that his extension with Toulouse will not bring an end to his Test career with work behind-the-scenes from Steve Borthwick and others at the RFU continuing in a bid to find a solution with several players departing the Premiership after the World Cup.
“I think Steve Borthwick coming out and supporting that just shows that there are lots of people behind the scenes that are working to try to find the right solution for English rugby moving forwards,” Willis told the Evening Standard Rugby Podcast.
“I think there are lots of avenues to explore, but the positive thing for me is that it seems that hopefully that’s on the table and at least being discussed, and we’ll see.”
“I have made up my mind”
In the meantime, Willis has decided where he will be next season and needs to tick a few more things off before officially committing to Toulouse.
“I have made up my mind; I need to get the last couple of things finalised over the next couple of weeks, and make sure that all my family are on board,” he said.
“Wherever we do end up you want to make sure you’ve considered every factor possible. There’s still a little bit of thinking to do, but we’re nearly there. I’ve absolutely loved my time here, and Toulouse have been so welcoming.”
Willis added that he believes that England will change their eligibility rules and that it won’t just be for him.
“You look at the salary cap [in the Premiership], where it’s heading, where it has been heading, how tight it is and how many players have been squeezed out of jobs. You then look at Wasps and Worcester; they didn’t have financially stable models,” he explained.
“I think something that’s a factor for me is the financial stability of that club because I can’t tell you how difficult it was going through what we went through.”
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