Jonny Wilkinson beginning to accept new England role

Jonny Wilkinson goes through hell sitting on England's bench - but he is slowly coming to terms with his new role.

Wilkinson lost the coveted England 10 jersey to his former protege Toby Flood at the end of last year's RBS 6 Nations.



Flood has started the last eight Tests at fly-half and was man of the match in England's victory over Wales last Friday night.



Wilkinson came off the bench to seal the win with a late penalty, just as he did in the summer when England beat Australia 21-20 in Sydney.



If that is what England need from him heading towards the World Cup later this year, that is what Wilkinson will give body and soul to provide.



"It is hell sat on the sideline but at the same time it is massively important. Being on the bench brings new lessons for me," Wilkinson said.



"My desire to play for England is still as great as it was when I won my first cap. I am now in a role where I contribute slightly differently.



"It is a massive thing to get the opportunity to go on the field and do something like kicking that late penalty (against Wales).



"It is what you train for and it is what you live for. It is why we do it."



Injuries permitting, Wilkinson will play in his fourth World Cup later this year having helped England win the title in 2003 and reach the final four years ago.



Wilkinson's international career, which began in 1998 and totals 81 Test caps for England and the Lions, could be over after the World Cup, when England introduce a new policy of only selecting players based at domestic clubs.



Wilkinson knew the situation when he signed his new deal at Toulon but he could not turn his back on the club that revived his career after seven injury-plagued years.



"I can't impress upon you enough what a change to my life living in France has made," Wilkinson said.



"To play and play and play is crucial for me. It's been a while and there were all kinds of different injuries going on.



"Seven years of coming in for cameo appearances has thrown me around in a way I don't think I'll ever understand fully.



"Your confidence goes with all these things. It has been an interesting journey for me.



"I've learned that if I want to play rugby I can only play it one way or I don't play it at all. My desire is to keep trying to get better and better.



"It would mean a huge amount to me to play in a fourth World Cup. I'm in it for the long run and I will give it all I've got and nothing less."



Wilkinson is set to be named on the bench again tomorrow when England manager Martin Johnson announces his team to play Italy.



Flanker Hendre Fourie and inside centre Riki Flutey are fit for consideration but Johnson is likely to retain the same team that beat Wales 26-19.



PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Voices
Oscar Pistorius is led out of court in Pretoria. Pistorius received a five-year prison sentence for culpable homicide by judge Thokozile Masipais for the killing of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp
voicesThokozile Masipa simply had no choice but to jail the athlete
Arts and Entertainment
Sister Cristina Scuccia sings 'Like a Virgin' in Venice
music

Like Madonna, Sister Cristina Scuccia's video is also set in Venice

Arts and Entertainment
James Blunt's debut album Back to Bedlam shot him to fame in 2004
music

Singer says the track was 'force-fed down people's throats'

News
i100
Life and Style
The Tinder app has around 10 million users worldwide

techThe original free dating app will remain the same, developers say

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

Two super-sized ships have cruised into British waters, but how big can these behemoths get?

Super-sized ships: How big can they get?

Two of the largest vessels in the world cruised into UK waters last week
British doctors on brink of 'cure' for paralysis with spinal cord treatment

British doctors on brink of cure for paralysis

Sufferers can now be offered the possibility of cure thanks to a revolutionary implant of regenerative cells
Let's talk about loss

We need to talk about loss

Secrecy and silence surround stillbirth
Will there be an all-female mission to Mars?

Will there be an all-female mission to Mars?

Women may be better suited to space travel than men are
Oscar Pistorius sentencing: The athlete's wealth and notoriety have provoked a long overdue debate on South African prisons

'They poured water on, then electrified me...'

If Oscar Pistorius is sent to jail, his experience will not be that of other inmates
James Wharton: The former Guard now fighting discrimination against gay soldiers

The former Guard now fighting discrimination against gay soldiers

Life after the Army has brought new battles for the LGBT activist James Wharton
Ebola in the US: Panic over the virus threatens to infect President Obama's midterms

Panic over Ebola threatens to infect the midterms

Just one person has died, yet November's elections may be affected by what Republicans call 'Obama's Katrina', says Rupert Cornwell
Premier League coaches join the RSC to swap the tricks of their trades

Darling, you were fabulous! But offside...

Premier League coaches are joining the RSC to learn acting skills, and in turn they will teach its actors to play football. Nick Clark finds out why
How to dress with authority: Kirsty Wark and Camila Batmanghelidjh discuss the changing role of fashion in women's workwear

How to dress with authority

Kirsty Wark and Camila Batmanghelidjh discuss the changing role of fashion in women's workwear
New book on Joy Division's Ian Curtis sheds new light on the life of the late singer

New book on Ian Curtis sheds fresh light on the life of the late singer

'Joy Division were making art... Ian was for real' says author Jon Savage
Sean Harris: A rare interview with British acting's secret weapon

Sean Harris: A rare interview with British acting's secret weapon

The Bafta-winner talks Hollywood, being branded a psycho, and how Barbra Streisand is his true inspiration
Tim Minchin, interview: The musician, comedian and world's favourite ginger is on scorching form

Tim Minchin interview

For a no-holds-barred comedian who is scathing about woolly thinking and oppressive religiosity, he is surprisingly gentle in person
Boris Johnson's boozing won't win the puritan vote

Boris's boozing won't win the puritan vote

Many of us Brits still disapprove of conspicuous consumption – it's the way we were raised, says DJ Taylor
Ash frontman Tim Wheeler reveals how he came to terms with his father's dementia

Tim Wheeler: Alzheimer's, memories and my dad

Wheeler's dad suffered from Alzheimer's for three years. When he died, there was only one way the Ash frontman knew how to respond: with a heartfelt solo album