Rugby World Cup 2011

Wilkinson still an 'option'

2011-08-05 16:19
Jonny Wilkinson (File)

London - England team manager Martin Johnson believes that Jonny Wilkinson still has an important role to play at the Rugby World Cup in Spetember.

Wilkinson, 32, sealed victory for England in the 2003 final - with a drop goal in the dying minutes of the game - but has slipped down the pecking order in the team since.

The Toulon flyhalf’s international career has been hampered by poor form and several injuries, leaving the door open for Toby Flood to claim the first choice spot.

However, according to the ITV website, Johnson thinks Wilkinson is still an important part of the squad.

"Toby [Flood] has started for the last season or so, but as we've said all the way through we've got good options there [at fly-half],” said Johnson.

"There's always a reason why you want Jonny Wilkinson in your team. It's good for him - he's trained as he always does, he's been absolutely outstanding and he's been doing it for a long, long time, and he's still got a lot in him."

Johnson captained the England team at the 2003 World Cup, while Wilkinson was the star of the tournament - scoring a total of 113 points.

Wilkinson has struggled to regularly reach the same level of performance since, and this World Cup could be his last opportunity to impress in an England shirt as the RFU have declared any players plying their trade outside of Britain ineligible for selection to the team after the tournament.

The former Newcastle flyhalf has been named in the starting line-up for Saturday's World Cup warm-up match against Wales at twickenham.


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