Wilkinson ruled himself out

2013-04-30 15:49
Jonny Wilkinson (File)

London - Jonny Wilkinson ruled himself out of the British and Irish Lions tour of Australia, coach Warren Gatland said after unveiling his squad on Tuesday.

However, the New Zealander said flyhalf Wilkinson, who a decade ago kicked the match-winning drop goal that saw England defeat Australia in a thrilling Rugby World Cup final in Sydney, could yet be called up as a replacement.

Wilkinson's masterly display in kicking all of Toulon's points in their 24-12 Heineken Cup semi-final win over Saracens at Twickenham on Sunday led to renewed speculation as to whether he would be selected for a third Lions tour.

But Gatland named current England pivot Owen Farrell and Ireland's Jonathan Sexton as his two flyhalves -- with Wilkinson having endorsed the duo immediately after his man of the match effort for Toulon at Twickenham

"He (Wilkinson) wasn't available," Gatland told reporters. "He said he really appreciated the call but that he was committed to Toulon and would not be able to travel with the squad."

France's Top 14 final takes place on the same day as the Lions play the Barbarians in a tour opener in Hong Kong on June 1 and Wilkinson, whose Toulon club are already in the semi-finals, could find himself required for the climax of the French domestic season.

Wilkinson's Toulon's team-mate Gethin Jenkins was included after being cleared by his club, for whom the Welsh prop is not a first choice player.

Gatland, asked if he had called Wilkinson to include him in his squad, replied: "I wouldn't have made the call otherwise. But we wanted the whole squad to be able to play in Hong Kong and he couldn't make that commitment."

Gatland also suggested Wilkinson himself had indicated he had doubts about his ability to last a Lions tour.

"He said he was struggling with his body and managing things week to week and I think he'd struggle to get through a seven-week tour."

But Gatland did say Wilkinson, who turns 34 next month, could yet be included as a possible injury replacement.

Read more on:    warren gatland  |  jonny wilkinson  |  rugby

What To Read Next


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
Video Highlights
Sport Talk

Love 2 Meet
English Premiership flutter

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


With the Absa Premiership in full swing, who will be crowned champions when all is said and done? Will Mamelodi Sundowns defend their title? Or can Kaizer Chiefs, Orlando Pirates or Bidvest Wits mount a serious challenge? Stay glued to Sport24 to find out!

Latest blogs

SA Rugby's coaching indaba is set to take place this week. Do you think the two-day think-tank will make any difference?

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

RSS Feeds Sport news delivered really simply.

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