Wilkinson man on a mission as Toulon return from the brink
Toulon 19 Ospreys 14
Monday 11 October 2010
Anyone who questions Jonny Wilkinson's desire to pull on the England No 10 shirt this autumn should look away now.
Wilkinson produced a stirring performance in the final 20 minutes of this cosmopolitan contest to seal a landmark European victory for Toulon – and take pole position in the race to win the fly-half spot next month.
The 2003 World Cup winner's chances of wresting back the coveted jersey from Leicester's Toby Flood, who shone on the summer tour in Australia, had increased after Flood's late withdrawal in Italy on Saturday through injury. Then, in front of national manager Martin Johnson and attack coach Brian Smith, Wilkinson scored 14 points to cement his impressive early-season form in the south of France.
Wilkinson, 31, said: "Playing for England is every person's dream. I've been able to do that but it doesn't change my feelings now. In fact, those feelings build as you get older. Representing your country is without doubt the ultimate feeling. Nothing has changed for me and it never will."
Wilkinson swapped nine points with Dan Biggar in a dour opening hour before the Wales wing Shane Williams lit up this glamour tie with a trademark solo effort. Toulon were staring down the barrel of a shock home defeat. But cometh the hour, cometh the man – Wilkinson almost single-handedly propelled his side to victory from 14-9 down.
Firstly, he struck an excellent penalty from the near touchline to fire the French outfit to within two points. Then Wilkinson proved he is not just a one-dimensional kicker by creating Paul Sackey's match-winner with four minutes to play.
Wilkinson added: "I'd be enormously disappointed if I was the same player as 10 years ago. I've learnt and been through so much but my philosophy is still to get better every day."
Toulon: Try Sackey; Conversion Wilkinson; Penalties: Wilkinson 4; Ospreys: Try Williams; Penalties Biggar 3.
Toulon R Lamont; P Sackey, M Kefu, G Messina, B Lapeyre; J Wilkinson, M Henjak; S Taumoepeau, J Orioli, D Kubriashvili, D Schofield, C Samson, O Missoup, J Fernandez Lobbe (capt), G Smith. Replacements L Magnaval for M Henjkak (61), B Basteres for S Taumoepeau (62).
Ospreys L Byrne; T Bowe, A Bishop, J Hook, S Williams; D Biggar, M Phillips; P James, R Hibbard, A Jones, I Gough, AW Jones (capt), J Collins, J Thomas, M Holah. Replacements N Walker for S Williams, 68.
Referee A Lewis (Ireland).
Actress isn't a fan of Ed Miliband
Do you qualify – and how do you get it?
The Mayor of London's sister, Rachel Johnson, apologises for shocking tweet about the PM
Phil Hughes injury: Cricket world reels as Australian opener fights for his life
Phil Hughes: Batsman had one weakness – it has come back to haunt him
Manchester City vs Bayern Munich comment: Frank Lampard's part in City win shows folly of letting him leave
This letter from a reader explains why women can’t play football
Manchester City vs Bayern Munich: Nasri admits City stars will be sold if they fail in Europe
- 2 Black Friday 2014: Opening times for Asda, John Lewis, PC World, GAME and Argos
- 4 Jeremy Hunt: 'I took my children to A&E because I didn't want to wait for GP appointment'
- 5 Girl, 7, gets Tesco to remove 'stupid' sign suggesting superheroes are 'for boys'
Rochester by-election: Ukip gains second MP as Tory defector Mark Reckless holds seat
'Beast of Bolsover' Dennis Skinner takes Ukip MP Mark Reckless to task moments after he is sworn in
Rochester by-election: Labour MP Emily Thornberry resigns after posting white van and England flags tweet
The young are the new poor: Sharp increase in number of under-25s living in poverty, while over-65s are better off than ever
Tamir Rice: 12-year-old boy playing with fake gun dies after being shot by Ohio police
Revealed: How the world gets rich – from privatising British public services