British and Irish Lions 2013: Jonny Wilkinson 'phenomenally proud' to get call but puts focus on Toulon

 

Jonny Wilkinson says he was 'phenomenally proud' to be considered for the 2013 Lions tour Down Under but adds that his 'absolute priority' lies with his club Toulon.

Lions coach Warren Gatland telephoned Wilkinson on Monday to offer him a place on the tour of Australia, but the former England international turned down the offer.

Wilkinson delivered a masterclass at Twickenham on Sunday, kicking all the points in Toulon's Heineken Cup semi-final victory over Saracens.

But Gatland had insisted that all players must be available for the opening tour match against the Barbarians in Hong Kong on June 1, the same day as the French Top 14 final.

"It was a hugely proud moment for me to be called by Warren Gatland, to be told that they were thinking of me in this way," Wilkinson told The Times.

"I was phenomenally proud to be considered for the Lions, so it's very disappointing that I'm unavailable.

"If Toulon manage to get through to the final of the Top 14, my absolute priority lies with them and helping to get the best out of a team that has been so good to me for so long.

"It is, after all, these guys who have got me to the stage where I could even be considered for the Lions."

Wilkinson, 33, underwent a groin procedure in January, he may require another operation in the summer and he told Gatland he was physically not able to cope with a full seven-week tour.

The Lions are only taking two fly-halves and so Wilkinson would have had to be involved in most of the 10 fixtures, either in the starting side or on the bench.

But Wilkinson did not rule out taking part in his third Lions tour as an injury replacement, should anything happen to Jonathan Sexton or Owen Farrell.

"I told him where I am at the moment, that there's a bit of day-to-day management where my body is concerned," Wilkinson said.

"I'll see how I am at the end of the club season and if Warren needs me and I am able to get involved, that would be fabulous."

 



PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Isis hostage crisis: The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power

Isis hostage crisis

The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power, says Robert Fisk
Missing salvage expert who found $50m of sunken treasure before disappearing, tracked down at last

The runaway buccaneers and the ship full of gold

Salvage expert Tommy Thompson found sunken treasure worth millions. Then he vanished... until now
Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Maverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
Assisted Dying Bill: I want to be able to decide about my own death - I want to have control of my life

Assisted Dying Bill: 'I want control of my life'

This week the Assisted Dying Bill is debated in the Lords. Virginia Ironside, who has already made plans for her own self-deliverance, argues that it's time we allowed people a humane, compassionate death
Move over, kale - cabbage is the new rising star

Cabbage is king again

Sophie Morris banishes thoughts of soggy school dinners and turns over a new leaf
11 best winter skin treats

Give your moisturiser a helping hand: 11 best winter skin treats

Get an extra boost of nourishment from one of these hard-working products
Paul Scholes column: The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him

Paul Scholes column

The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him
Frank Warren column: No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans

Frank Warren's Ringside

No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans
Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

Comedians share stories of depression

The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

14 office buildings added to protected lists

Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee