Flanker Jack Willis reiterated how crucial he can be to Stade Toulousain’s Heineken Champions Cup hopes with a try for England as they beat Italy 31-14 in the Six Nations at Twickenham Stadium on Sunday.

The 26-year-old featured twice in the Heineken Champions Cup pool stage after joining Toulouse last November, helping the five-time champions set up a Round of 16 clash at home to Vodacom Bulls.

Willis further underlined his credentials for a starting spot in that game as he impressed on his first England start since 2020, having battled back from a serious knee injury.

He notched his side’s opening try inside the first quarter of an hour as he powered over following a driving maul, with Leicester Tigers lock Ollie Chessum, another Heineken Champions Cup star, then crossing.

Saracens fly-half Owen Farrell, who tallied 20 points across the two Heineken Champions Cup pool stage games he featured in, converted both those scores before his clubmate Jamie George added a third try before the break.

Hooker George has one try to his name so far in the Heineken Champions Cup as Saracens prepare to host Ospreys in the Round of 16, and another of the three-time champions’ front row options to have notched in EPCR’s elite competition, Marco Riccioni, was on the scoresheet for Italy.

The prop got over shortly after the restart as Italy rallied, but England, who faded somewhat after Willis, among others, was withdrawn, held on to clinch victory and bounce back from their opening round defeat to Scotland.