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).
Liverpool transfer news: Reds buoyed after Marco Reus rejects new Borussia Dortmund contract offer - reports
Arsenal agree new deal with BT Sport - which coincides nicely with advert showing FA Cup win over Liverpool
Liverpool transfer news: Divock Origi joins before World Cup star is immediately loaned back to Lille
Scottie dogs in Commonwealth Games opening ceremony 'disrespectful to Muslims', say Malaysian politicians
Liverpool transfer news: Daniel Agger closing in on Barcelona move as Xavi plans to stay
- 1 Disney heiress Abigail disowns her share of family profits in West Bank company
- 2 The secret report that helps Israel hide facts
- 3 'Women should not laugh in public,' says Turkey's Deputy Prime Minister in morality speech
- 4 Ebola virus: UK health officials issue warning to doctors as experts admit the outbreak 'is not under control'
- 5 Ross Burden dead: MasterChef and Ready Steady Cook star dies at age 45 after suffering from cancer
The secret report that helps Israel hide facts
A day in the life of Vladimir Putin: The dictator in his labyrinth
Woman and two children killed by mob in riots over 'blasphemous' Facebook post in Pakistan
Putin is 'thuggish, dishonest and reckless', says British ambassador to US
Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite – Britain as others see us
Were 'Poor Doors' added to mixed developments so wealthy residents don't have to go in alongside social housing tenants?