Jack Willis finds it difficult to accept he may not play with brother Tom again

Jack Willis says the moment he embraced younger brother Tom knowing they were unlikely to play together again was when the reality of Wasps’ collapse truly hit home.

Wasps have been placed into administration and face relegation from the Gallagher Premiership as they struggle to face a buyer willing to take on debts in excess of £50million.

Willis was among the 167 players and members of staff made redundant 10 days ago and has yet to sign for a new club at a time when teams have no room to manoeuvre within the salary cap.

The news was delivered on a harrowing day at their training ground and having returned home, he was “reluctant to go back through the door because I didn’t really want to cry for the 20th time that afternoon”.

Son Enzo gave him the usual cuddle on arrival and partner Megan provided emotional support, but it was still hard to accept that he would no longer pack down in the same back row as younger brother Tom.

“We were all pretty stunned. We didn’t expect the news to be so immediate. We were just expecting to be told that administration was official, not that we were all made redundant,” said Willis from England’s training camp.

“Everyone was upset and we were all going up to each other. I was quite upset immediately, then I’d sort of compose myself, go up to someone else and get upset again.

“Then I went up to my brother and that, for me, has been the hardest part of it. I don’t know what the future holds but I love playing with him and alongside him.

Wasps v Northampton Saints – Gallagher Premiership – Coventry Building Society Arena
Tom Willis may not get the chance to play with his brother again (PA)

“Seeing some pictures of Tom and me over the years when I was scrolling back through photos to put together a post on social media was incredibly difficult. The post took me a couple of days.

“It was entertaining waking Megan up at 7am blubbering looking at my phone! I look back at some of the photos of the memories we’ve created and they’ll last forever.

“Some of the pictures of us with a bit more puppy fat, slightly chubbier cheeks, going from playing an academy game together to playing in a Premiership final together. Incredible journey.

“We didn’t end it how we’d have liked to. We were building something and over the coming years we could have achieved real success.”

England v Barbarians – International Friendly – Twickenham Stadium
Jack Willis is currently without a club (PA)

While Willis has selection for England’s opener against Argentina on November 6 to fight for, and as a highly regarded flanker is sure to be picked up by another club, many of his former Wasps colleagues are in less fortunate positions.

“Everyone is leaning on each other where they can. Everyone is in different scenarios,” Willis said.

“There are a couple of lads who have signed for sides and hopefully we keep seeing more and more of that.

“There are some lads that may not find clubs and some that may make the decision to retire because of the fact that, with the salary cap restrictions and the current economic climate, the situation is pretty bleak out there.

“It’s tough, but we’ve all reached out to each other and are still standing by one another as much as possible.

“I feel incredibly grateful to be involved in the England setup regardless, but in this scenario it’s given me such an incredible positive focus.

“I’ve got the opportunity to learn around these fantastic players, fantastic coaches, otherwise I’d be just running around a field on my own at the moment until I find a club. So I feel very lucky to be here.”