2003 Rugby World Cup Winner to Tour Australia Again
Jonny Wilkinson, who celebrated his finest rugby moment when he kicked the winning points in the 2003 Rugby World Cup Final in Sydney, has announced that he would like to be part of the 2013 British and Irish Lions tour of Australia.
Wilkinson retired from international Rugby in December 2011 but continues to play top level club rugby in France for Toulon. He has toured Australia and New Zealand with the British and Irish Lions, but both of those tours ended in defeat for the Lions, so he feels he still has some unfinished business.
Lions coach Warren Gatland has said “He’s still a fine player and only 33. That’s not old,”
“For me, everyone is in contention,” Gatland added. “The slate is clean for every player who wants to be considered.”
“No one is ruled out or penciled in. If you are playing well enough, then whoever it is – whether it is Jonny Wilkinson or whoever, it’s all about how players are performing for their clubs or countries. “
“We’ve selected players who have been playing well just for their club sides and have done well for the Lions. They don’t have to be playing for their countries.”
“What is important if they are not playing international rugby is that they have to be coming from a side that is performing particularly well.”
Wilkinson has responded with “There’s no way I could say no,”
“In terms of what that represents, everything about it, it’s enormous. Such a fabulous thing.“
“The joy is the fact it doesn’t have to come with [still playing] international rugby. It doesn’t matter where you come from. You have got six weeks, get your boots on and get into it.”
So barring injuries or poor form, it looks like it will happen. How pleased will the Wallabies fans be to see him back?
The Lions will play three Tests against the Wallabies and seven tour matches, including a warm-up against the Barbarians in Hong Kong.
By Max Power