Negri sorry for injury to England's Willis

·1-min read

Italy flanker Sebastian Negri has said sorry after his 'crocodile roll' clean-out at the ruck in the Six Nations match against England left his opponent Jack Willis injured and facing a long period out of the game.

Willis had to be driven off the Twickenham pitch on a motorised cart after suffering an agonising knee injury in the final quarter of England's 41-18 victory.

The Wasps turnover king, who moments earlier had scored the fifth of his team's six tries, cried out in agony after his left leg buckled as he was pulled out of the ruck by Negri.

Crocodile rolls - grabbing a player and twisting around with them to remove them as a threat to the ball - are permitted by referees as long as they are not around the neck.

But while there was no act of foul play by Negri, they are a dangerous and controversial technique.

"A quick message to Jack Willis. So sorry about what happened yesterday," Negri said on Twitter.

"Just Horrible and never nice to see. Myself and all the @Federugby boys are wishing you all the best.

"I hope to see you back on the field again soon. Take care and we all know you will be back stronger. Seb"

Willis is undergoing scans to assess the extent of the damage but it is a bitter blow to a destructive flanker who broke into the England team last autumn, having battled back from previous knee and ankle issues.

"It's one of those, it's quite emotional," said Willis' head coach at Wasps Lee Blackett, who has had a text conversation with the 24-year-old back row.