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Jack Willis & LI
Discussion started by AlecW , 18 October, 2020 09:16
Jack Willis & LI
AlecW 18 October, 2020 09:16
Quote:
Contained in an interview with Willis in the Sunday Times
He is still in touch with his coach at Abbey through the age groups, Wayne Courtnage, who has vivid memories. “Jack was a very strong character, mischievous, a brilliant guy and good to have in the team.
“He was always positive but he was almost too positive so I didn’t make him captain for the first two years. But he is a natural leader. Jack had a trial with London Irish when he was about 14 and they rejected him. He wanted to impress his father, who had played for London Irish, and when they rejected him it took six months to get back into the right place.

“He was quite small at 14 because he had stopped growing and I think the Irish rejected him on his size. But it didn’t take a lot of imagination to work out he was going to be a big lad.”

Re: Jack Willis & LI
mackemII 18 October, 2020 10:28
Quote:
AlecW
Quote:
Contained in an interview with Willis in the Sunday Times
He is still in touch with his coach at Abbey through the age groups, Wayne Courtnage, who has vivid memories. “Jack was a very strong character, mischievous, a brilliant guy and good to have in the team.
“He was always positive but he was almost too positive so I didn’t make him captain for the first two years. But he is a natural leader. Jack had a trial with London Irish when he was about 14 and they rejected him. He wanted to impress his father, who had played for London Irish, and when they rejected him it took six months to get back into the right place.

“He was quite small at 14 because he had stopped growing and I think the Irish rejected him on his size. But it didn’t take a lot of imagination to work out he was going to be a big lad.”

Son of Ben Willis Alec?

Re: Jack Willis & LI
AlecW 18 October, 2020 10:36
No - his/Tom’s dad is Steve Willis, who played for Abbey for many years, but not AFAIA for Irish - the Geese / Wanderers / Nomads, perhaps?

Re: Jack Willis & LI
mackemII 18 October, 2020 10:44
Quote:
AlecW
No - his/Tom’s dad is Steve Willis, who played for Abbey for many years, but not AFAIA for Irish - the Geese / Wanderers / Nomads, perhaps?

Thanks Alec. Couldn't find another Willis on the old boys website. I didn't think that Ben was a dad during his time with us.

Re: Jack Willis & LI
Shawshank 18 October, 2020 10:44
I guess you’ll always have a few slipping through the net Alec...

I remember a home Anglo -Welsh game in the Coventry season, when Wasps put out an academy side and we thumped them by about 50 pts.

Willis Captained them that day and was immense in a losing cause, easily the best player on the pitch.

Re: Jack Willis & LI
AlecW 18 October, 2020 11:42
Totally agree - I wasn’t meaning to criticise LI. And in any event, as Dick Rowe found, you can’t always predict their future when they’re young &/or unknown...!

I’m sure there are plenty of players who were rejected / let go by other clubs who have become LI stalwarts...

Mapusua never won an All-Blacks cap, for instance, despite playing in the NZ U21 team alongside the likes of Jerry Collins, Clarke Dermody (!), Riki Flutey (!!), Carl Hayman, Aaron Mauger, Richie McCaw (whatever happened to him?), Keven Mealamu, Rodney So’oialo, George Stowers (!!!) and Tony Woodcock. There’s the nucleus of a halfway decent side there, particularly in the forwards...!


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