As well as lining up alongside Antoine Dupont and Romain Ntamack, in the same group as fellow French internationals Cyril Baille and Julien Marchand, Willis will work with assistant coach Jerome Kaino, a double World Cup winner with the All Blacks in 2011 and 2015. .
In Thibaud Flament, the Toulouse lock and former club mate of Willis, there is an existing link to Wasps and something of an exodus to France is brewing. Brad Shields has joined Perpignan, with Dan Robson at Pau and Tom Willis, Jack’s brother, about to be announced as a Union Bordeaux Bègles player pending the results of a medical.
Willis came off the bench in the closing stages of England’s 30-29 defeat to Argentina, but was not part of the match day squad for the 52-13 win over Japan the following weekend. He has been at Pennyhill Park preparing for New Zealand’s visit to Twickenham this Saturday.
Last month, during England’s training camp in Jersey, Willis addressed the media, saying the chance to take part in the Autumn Tests had given him a welcome distraction from the bleakness of the Wasps situation.
“In this setting, he’s given me an incredible positive focus,” Willis said. “I want to play for England more than anything. I have the opportunity to learn around these fantastic players, fantastic coaches, otherwise I would be running around a field by myself right now until I find a club.
“I feel very lucky to be here. While I’m here, I’m concentrating on what’s going on at the England camp. That is the reason we have agents. They can do the work behind the scenes and I can focus wholeheartedly on trying to get drafted and add to the team for the next four weeks.”