Tom Willis doesn’t have to look very far when it comes to inspiration to make it to the top.
Brother Jack – who is two years Tom’s senior – joined Wasps’ senior academy from Henley College ahead of the 2015/16 season, winning the World Rugby U20 Championship with England in 2016.
He then become a regular in Wasps’ first-team squad during the 2016/17 campaign.
As of 2018, Tom described his proudest moment in club rugby as his Premiership Rugby debut against Saracens in October 2017 and it was made even more special as the then-18-year-old came on to join his brother in the Wasps back row.
Jack was also on the pitch, and in fact captain, when Tom made his first Premiership Rugby A League appearance for Wasps against Exeter Braves in 2016.
Tom has demonstrated his leadership abilities by captaining England U18s against Wales during their summer development tour to South Africa in 2017.
He then earned his first call-up to the England U20s squad in January 2018 ahead of that spring’s Six Nations, making his debut in the opening match against Italy.
Later that year, Tom made two starts against Italy and Scotland as England made the World Rugby U20 Championship for a sixth successive year.
He was an ever-present in the U20 Six Nations campaign of 2019, scoring tries against Ireland and France, also playing against Junior Springboks in April.
Reading-born Tom first took up rugby as an eight-year-old for Reading Abbey RFC – the club that his father Steve, who also had a spell at London Irish in the 1990s, played at for 25 years.
Having initially attended Highdown School, he played in the AASE League for Henley College once he reached the age of 16 and was dual-registered with Rotherham Titans for part of the 2017/18 season, gaining experience in the Greene King IPA Championship.
Tom attributes James Honeyben, one of his coaches at the Wasps junior academy, with giving him a good understanding of the game and describes Honeyben as “the most committed coach I have worked with”.
Away from the pitch, Tom says his proudest non-rugby moment is his family looking after and making a difference to many foster children’s lives.
2018 It, SA, World Championship - A(R), It, S, SA (R), F(R). 2019: Ire (1T), Fra (1T), Wal, Ita, Sco (1T), SA
Last updated: 13 May 2019