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Thursday Oct 11, 2012

Jonny Wilkinson keeps hope alive for 2013 British & Irish Lions tour

Jonny Wilkinson keeps hope alive for 2013 British & Irish Lions tour
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As you have probably heard, Jonny Wilkinson has said that he is definitely interested in heading over to Australia on the British & Irish Lions tour next year. He is hoping to contribute towards making right the wrongs of the last time they played there, in 2001.

Toulon flyhalf Wilkinson spoke to Sky Sports about his ambitions to go on tour, and said that despite having retired from England rugby, he would love to play for the Lions one more time.

Like Brian O’Driscoll, whose try against Munster was featured yesterday, Wilkinson will be 34 years-old by the time the ten-match tour rolls around next year. Age isn’t a factor in his mind though, and if he is fit and playing well, he’d love to get stuck in if selected.

“There’s no way I could say no to the Lions. In terms of what it represents, everything about it, a Lions tour is enormous. A fabulous thing. For me, that’s the beauty of it – it doesn’t matter where you’ve come from, it’s a case of ‘We’ve got six weeks, get your boots on and get into it.'”

Lions coach Warren Gatland has stated that its a clean slate for everyone. If Wilkinson is playing well, he could get selected. The flyhalf is aware of that, but is keeping his feet on the ground.

“I appreciate I’m playing in France – not out of sight out of mind, but a little bit further away – and there are a lot of guys doing a lot of good things in home nations rugby at the moment,” he said.

“There’s an element of realism for me. I’m a 33-year-old foreign player playing in France. I’m not England’s mainstay fly-half after 40 or 50 caps and leading the team.

“All I can do is play and see if I fit into their plans. If I don’t I’ll just have to make the best of what I’ve got here which, let’s face it, is good enough.”

– Who would you pick at ten ahead of, or behind, Wilkinson in your 2013 British & Irish Lions squad?

Credit: The Rugby Club on Sky Sports

19 Comments

  • reality
    8:26 PM 12/10/2012

    NathanJ, I'm sorry, but my eyes must be deceiving me. Are you actually saying that Dan Biggar is the best outhalf in Europe? Has he ever even played for Wales? I don't think playing half decent matches in the Pro 12 is enough to pronounce him the best in Europe. And Rhys Priestland? Owen Farrell? They're both extremely average. Priestland had a few decent matches in the World Cup, and nothing more. Farrell has played what? A handfull of matches? And he's been fairly average overall from what I remember. Then you complain that O'Gara is defensively frail, and say that Laidlaw is your 4th choice? He's nearly as bad as O'Gara. There were a bunch of tries in high-profile matches last season that were a direct result of his inability to tackle properly. And you don't rate Sexton? He is by an absolute mile the best in Europe. I mean he can do it all, and do it all well. He tackles well, kicks out of hand, from the ground, passes better than any outhalf, is fast. What else do you want him to do?

    Reply
  • pretzel
    8:12 PM 12/10/2012

    Sorry I'm talking out my ass there, You're right BOD did play in all 3, as you say if I include his short lived stint against the Kiwi's, I remember seeing videos of him in a disagreement with some of the bok players!

    Reply
  • leinsterblue
    3:40 PM 12/10/2012

    That's just normal pre-game banter, Saffers surprised me, they actually boo'd their own players in Pretoria who were from the Bulls rivals... great laugh all the same. Jeremy Guscott, Martin Johnson, Will Greenwood, Fran Cotton, Gareth Edwards, Syd Millar are the ones that spring to mind, and obviously Willie John McBride with 5 tours (Mr. 99 call in SA back in the day). Dallaglio, Brian O'driscoll did actually if you include the 3 mins against NZ. Martyn Williams. I think there's quite a few more as well, probably gnarly forwards. One thing I forgot to say is that the craic for the fans is class, the sessions are insane and the locals really go for it, I went to SA (O'Gara fecked up 2nd test) , brother did NZ Tour, sister oz tour before that and a lot of my mates have gone on 4 or 5 tours. As an experience there is nothing like it, 1 month of pre-match pints and post match excess, 3 games a week, and great friends made. Its worth it if you can get the time off work. http://www.lionsrugby.com/home.php

    Reply
  • colombes
    2:06 PM 12/10/2012

    i have a huge respect for Wilko but i don't think he's got the same impact on the game than few years ago. Guys like Sexton, Farrell, Flood and Laidlaw are more possible "lions" He has diversified his gameplay in France and he still has his wonderful foot and a good vista but his physic have dicreased. A Hcup victory with Toulon in the 2 years could be a more "reasonnable" objective ;)

    Reply
  • 1:37 AM 12/10/2012

    Sexton beat the boks with his foot before so I don't agree that he's abysmal at test level. He had a stormer against the abs. Biggar, priest land and laidlaw(for the experience) have to go. Farrell is overrated. I'd still take Johnny to teach and step up if the youngsters fail. He's been there In the pressure situations.

    Reply
  • pretzel
    12:27 AM 12/10/2012

    Thank you for the information. I have never "sniffed" at the Lions, it's nothing something I take any interest in mocking, I think it is a brilliant concept and I think it is something which should be continued. I would just like to see a SH equivalent. I know it won't have the same historical value, but hey, might as well start making history.. I suppose with the Lions tour "unbeatable comment" I was referring to the last tour in SA, where there were comments regarding it being "the best of the NH" or at least the best of B&I, and I recall a lot of the SA comments were regarding how the best could not stand up to them... although I assume this is just common place with the Saffas! lol.. It is crazy how it is every 4 years though, and as you said 12 years between facing the same team again... Actually there is something interesting, have there been many players that have faced all 3 nations? I thought BOD or JW had, but I see that they have both played 2001, 2005 but missed 2009...

    Reply
  • pretzel
    11:58 PM 11/10/2012

    ....wait this is a rugby website?!?!!?!?! What the hell... ?

    Reply
  • pretzel
    9:36 PM 11/10/2012

    Ah yes.... all makes sense now... lmao, could you actually imagine Martin Johnson in a 10 shirt! Would probably be so damn hilarious!

    Reply
  • 8:51 PM 11/10/2012

    Tough choice here for Gatland. Fly-half is surely a position where there are many contenders, like Sexton and Flood. But it's hard to deny that Wilkinson would bring a lot of heart and a lot of experience (not just as a player but as a Lion). I'd even go so far as to include him on the list of potential captains because for the Lions I think you need to avoid naming one of the captains of the national sides as that could potentially lead to antagonism between his charges. Wilkinson would likely to be respected enough by all players to lead without that baggage. His distance from playing for England might actually help him in this respect. So in conclusion, I'd say to Gatland: Bring Wilkinson, but only if you're prepared to make good use of him. Don't bring him along as a token. He can offer more to the Lions, not just as a fly-half

    Reply
  • 04charlescox
    7:50 PM 11/10/2012

    100% take him. Although he may no longer be the player he once was, he is still capable of inspiring others around him on and off the field. Don't forget as well that the aussies still fear him from his glory days.

    Reply
  • guy
    6:04 PM 11/10/2012

    Jonno used to be the nickname of Martin Johnson. He was an absolute lousy flyhalf..;-)

    Reply
  • pretzel
    4:43 PM 11/10/2012

    From what I have seen, I think Sexton would be a better option, with JW in reserve, or perhaps mix it up between the 2. I think it would be important to see how the respective fly halves perform in the 6N next year, but as it stands I think JW has a very good chance, and out of the current international fly halves I think Sexton is the better of the lot. I think during the SH tours I remember a lot of people commenting about a hype surrounding Rhys Priestland and it being a bit overplayed, and perhaps not justified. I wonder if perhaps he will get a look in because of Gatland picking the team. How is the Scottish Flyhalf performing?

    Reply
  • pretzel
    4:37 PM 11/10/2012

    I don't see the resemblance...

    Reply
  • pretzel
    4:37 PM 11/10/2012

    Sorry that was supposed to be to Stroudos and BoGo..

    Reply
  • pretzel
    4:35 PM 11/10/2012

    BoGo, are there any rules on who you can pick in the B&I Lions? For instance it's Warren Gatland leading it this year I hear...So if he thinks the sun shines out of the Welsh behind, could he in theory just pick an all Welsh Squad? Or does there have to be a certain number from each nation? I'm just thinking that a SH touring team would be a good idea if there was a "jumbled up" rule, so it basically isn't an NZ touring side under the name of "SH Lions" or something like that... I think it would be a good idea.. I can't say I have been an avid lions follower at all, but from what I see you get a good collection of players, but they aren't a single unit, they still have a sort of "flair" about them. I have never understood why B&I Lions fans have thought the team is the bee's knees, and why many SH supporters feel the team and it's fans are under the guise that it's "unbeatable"... I've never considered it to be a well groomed team due to it's nature, to me it is very much a "slightly bettered" groomed Barbarians team. I understand there is a lot of pride and prestigiousness involved and in theory it should be a strong team, but you can never (imo) get 4 nations to throw in a handful of players and get a team that will easily overcome a team that is together week in week out, such as an International team...

    Reply
  • poccio
    3:20 PM 11/10/2012

    I love johnny, but i think sexton will be ahead of him...if he's fit he should defo be on the tour though

    Reply
  • guy
    2:49 PM 11/10/2012

    I really can't remember if any of the 4 nations fly halves stood out last Six Nations. So I guess not. And there is no denying that Wilkinson, in any role, would add a lot of value on a lot of points to the Lions squad. Based on that I would probably still go for Jonny at the moment. But lets see what happens in the next Six Nations first though.

    Reply
  • stroudos
    2:38 PM 11/10/2012

    You must be joking. Talk about a one-sided contest. Although I suppose you could look at it as a way to dilute NZ's potency... A fairer contest would be an Americas touring side, visiting Europe one year and the Pacific Islands four years after that.

    Reply
  • stroudos
    2:35 PM 11/10/2012

    If I were Gatland, I'd take Wilko, no doubt. Thanks to Rugbydump, some of us in England still get the chance to see him play now and again. In most of the footage I've seen over the last few months he's been playing better than ever.

    Reply


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