Wilkinson eyes Top 14 glory

2012-06-08 10:25
Jonny Wilkinson (File)

Paris - Former England star Jonny Wilkinson will aim to lead Toulon to their first French league title since 1992 in Saturday's Top 14 final against Toulouse at the Stade de France.

For Wilkinson - who had been off colour with his kicking in recent matches - it is a chance to add yet another memorable moment to his 2003 Rugby World Cup final heroics, when his drop goal in the last minute of extra-time delivered the trophy to England.

"I am astonished to be going back to the Stade de France for the final, it is somewhere I haven't been for a while!" joked the 33-year-old, who retired from international rugby after last year's World Cup.

"It's going to be an extraordinary experience. I can't wait for it," he added.

The ex-England flyhalf was instrumental in his side's nail-biting 15-12 victory over Clermont in the semi-final, kicking five penalties to account for all of Toulon's points.

Toulon, who have won the French championship three times in 1931, 1987 and 1989, will be up against a Toulouse side, captained by French flank and national team captain Thierry Dusautoir, that is hunting for an unrivalled 19th title.

Dusautoir, the 2011 International Rugby Board's Player of the Year, will be ably assisted by inside centre Luke McAlister as well as several French internationals such as Vincent Clerc, Clement Poitrenaud and Yoann Maestri, but their coach Guy Noves insisted there was "no favourite" ahead of Saturday's showpiece.

"We will need to prepare differently for this match against Toulon. We will need to adapt strategically. We expect a complicated match. For me, there is no favourite," Noves said.

While it may be a battle for French supremacy there is an interesting England versus France sub-plot given that Toulon are considerably bolstered by three Englishmen in their ranks.

Aside from Wilkinson, the club backed by comic book billionaire Mourad Boudjellal, also features Top 14 player of the season Steffon Armitage and 38-year-old veteran lock Simon Shaw.

The teams split their two meetings this season with Toulouse easily winning the first encounter 33-12 at the Stade Ernest Wallon in December. Toulon then gained their revenge with a close-fought 25-22 victory at the Stade Mayol on May 5.

"Toulouse have a very experienced and powerful set of players and it will be another big challenge," explained Wilkinson.

"Now we are in the final and we have to do everything we can to get the result that we want.

"Getting to the final is good, but if we win it, it would be phenomenal," added Wilkinson, who also won the English Premiership title with Newcastle Falcons in 1998.

Read more on:    jonny wilkinson  |  rugby


Read News24’s Comments Policy publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.
Live Video Streaming
  • Blitz
    Mon, 24 Nov 2014 @00:00
  • SS1
    Mon, 24 Nov 2014 @01:00
  • SS2
    Mon, 24 Nov 2014 @02:00
  • SS3
    Mon, 24 Nov 2014 @03:00
Video Highlights
Sport Talk
Most Read


Rugby World Cup 2015

All the action from the 2015 RWC, including live coverage of all 48 matches, breaking news, fixtures, results, logs - and much more!


Rugby World Cup 2015

De Allende's star burns bright
Boks were 'in a dark space'
Pacific island teams singled out for rough tactics?
Ireland favourites but France bullish
Love 2 Meet
English Premiership flutter

Take Sport24's "expert" tips at your peril...


Take a photographical trip down memory lane and remind yourself of how the Springboks fared in their five previous Rugby World Cup campaigns. In addition, pick your all-time Springbok Rugby World Cup Dream Team and you could win R3 000!

Latest blogs

The Springboks open their 2015 Rugby World Cup campaign against Japan. How do you see the match ending?

Twitter Follow Sport24 on Twitter

Facebook "Like" Sport24's Facebook page

WIN Enter and win with Sport24!

BlackBerry Stay in the loop on your BlackBerry

iPhone Latest Sport24 news on your iPhone

RSS Feeds Sport news delivered really simply.

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.