Wilkinson blocked from England training

Click to follow
The Independent Online

England manager Martin Johnson will be without Jonny Wilkinson for next week's Twickenham training camp after Toulon confirmed they would not be releasing the fly-half. They said Wilkinson would "honour his contract" and stay in France for their opening match of the Top 14 season against Bayonne.

England forwards Tom Palmer and James Haskell are likely to attend the camp for just 24 hours before returning to Paris for Stade Français' Friday night fixture against Bourgoin.

The French clubs are not obliged to release their players because England's training camp, which runs from 8-14 August, falls outside of the international window. England locked horns with Stade Français during the Six Nations over the issue of access to Haskell, prompting club owner Max Guazzini to claim the player was being held hostage.

But the RFU have been anxious to avoid confrontation on this occasion and all three players are understood to have Johnson's backing to play for their clubs. In Wilkinson's case, England also considered the fact he is carrying a shoulder problem that has ruled him out of Toulon's pre-season game against Stade today.

Comments