Rugby chiefs urged to ban the controversial 'crocodile roll' that caused a horrific injury to England star Jack Willis

RUGBY chiefs are being urged to ban the controversial 'crocodile roll' that caused a horrific injury to England star Jack Willis.

Willis suffered the excruciating injury when Italy's Sebastian Negri turned him at a ruck just seconds after he scored his second test try in only his third international.

The Wasps star faces another spell on the sidelines, with the game urged to clean up its act.

Willis left Twickenham on crutches and is unlikely to play again this Six Nations.

And taking aim at the tackle technique used by Negri, ex-world No1 ref Nigel Owens said: "The game needs to do more to stop the 'crocodile rolls' that led to the injury to Jack Willis.

"The law is pretty simple. It is illegal to wilfully collapse a ruck and you must join no lower than your hip.

"You cannot target someone's knees. Teams have been using judo coaches to teach players how to roll people away from the contact area. That should not be allowed.

"It is similar to the scrum feed, they are worse than they have ever been but we let them go because that's how rugby is played and refereeing has to be consistent."

Writing in the Mail on Sunday, Welsh whistler Owens added: "We need to go back to refereeing the law. It is illegal to collapse a ruck. It is illegal to enter it below hip height.

"That would stop crocodile rolls like this happening, which will stop horrific injuries like this one."


England used to work with judo coaches to practice work on the floor to simulate breakdown techniques.

But Eddie Jones stopped doing that about three years ago.

Asked after the 41-18 win what he felt of the technique, Jones said: “I have got no comment to make on that. That is up to the referee to interpret.

“I always leave those things to the referee. The referee has got to make a decision on whether it is safe or not and we abide by whatever decision the referee makes.

“We are all concerned. Jack is on crutches. He will be examined on Sunday. Obviously, it didn’t look good, it’s probably not good, we’ll just wait and see.

"He has got some sort of knee injury, he is on crutches, he is back in the dressing room with us.”

Team-mate Ellis Genge looked on in pure shock and fly-half George Ford said: "He was in a fair bit of pain and has had a fair few injuries until now.

"We've all been there. We had a chat with him and had our arm around him and he's been chatting with the boys. We'll have to see what the scan says.

"He's had the character to have some bad injuries before but come back and play some outstanding rugby to the point he's come back into the squad.

"I've got no doubt he'll do that again. Rugby and a career in sports is never straight forward. He'll be back."

Ex-England and Lions winger Ugo Monye added: "We often talk about health and safety in rugby and how we try to bring in laws to protect people in vulnerable positions.

"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 (as Willis was), you end up with horrific injuries like that."

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