Jack Willis’ response to being dropped by England was to issue an immediate plea to his club boss to let him ‘rip in for the boys’.
Despite scoring a try on his Test debut against Georgia, the Premiership player of the year was deemed surplus to requirements by Eddie Jones as he prepared his squad to face Ireland.
The 23-year-old reacted by urging Wasps head coach Lee Blackett to select him for the Gallagher Premiership clash with Bristol Bears.
“You’re always a bit concerned about internationals coming back,” said Blackett. “When you’ve got a lad like Jack, who texts you as soon as he finds out he’s left out and said ‘please can you put me in the team this week cause I want to rip in for the boys’, it’s pretty special.”
While not being at his barnstorming best, Willis was a try scorer and named man of the match by BT Sport as his younger brother Tom scored late on at the Ricoh Arena to earn Wasps a 23-20 victory.
The result came a day after England defeated Ireland 18-7 at at Twickenham Stadium. It was a sixth successive win for Eddie Jones – for whom Blackett has some sympathy when it comes to tough decisions that have to be made.
He said: “It’s difficult isn’t it for Eddie at the moment, if he listens to everyone, what everyone’s saying in terms of the back row it’s no wonder he’s talking about hybrid players because you can’t fit them all in on the back row can you?
“So we’re very lucky in this country to have such quality, and they’re all young which is exciting. So one thing you’d have to say to start with is the two guys that have started in the back row for England have played really well in the last couple of years.”
Blackett revealed that Willis was withdrawn by England early into the second half against Georgia because of a dead leg but had no concerns about naming him in his starting line up to face Bristol Bears.
“He’s not thinking obviously about potentially England training next week, he is thinking about Wasps and you’ve got to admire characters like that,” said Blackett.
“I had one decision, it was whether to play him. Look there is a decision, because you’ve got to see but when a lad like that and a quality player sends you a message like that and then you speak to him on the phone, you know.
“Your gut just says straight away this lad wants to rip in for the boys and yet again he can’t keep doing it, he gets another man of the match so it’s brilliant for him.”