England's Willis faces up to a year out after knee surgery

(Reuters) - England flanker Jack Willis said he faces up to a year on the sidelines after undergoing surgery for a serious knee injury suffered during a Six Nations match against Italy this month.

Willis was twisted out of a ruck by Italy's Sebastian Negri during England's 41-18 Six Nations win, with the 24-year-old needing almost 10 minutes of medical attention before being carried off on a stretcher.

"I've torn my MCL (medial collateral ligament) off the bone at the bottom, torn a bit off the top as well, so I am going to need that fully repaired," the Wasps flanker said in a video on Instagram.

"Torn both meniscus, the medial meniscus from the root one side. Pretty gutted, I could be out for up to a year."

Willis was named in England's squad for their tour of South Africa in 2018 but was forced to withdraw after suffering a knee injury in the Premiership semi-final. He made his debut for Eddie Jones' side in the 40-0 Autumn Nations Cup win against Georgia in November.

The 2019-20 Premiership Player of the Season hopes the contentious but legal 'crocodile roll' technique, which Negri used to clear him from the ruck, is removed from the game.

"I would like to think so but I am sitting here moaning because I have had an operation," he told the Times. "The breakdown has been an area that has been confused for quite a while.

"There's a lot that needs to be reviewed. (A crocodile roll) is not the right way you are taught as a kid to clear a ruck."

(Reporting by Arvind Sriram in Bengaluru; Editing by Simon Cameron-Moore)

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