Rugby World Cup 2011: Dunedin loss a ‘building block’

Jonny Wilkinson believes the painful 64-22 defeat by the All Blacks in 1998 was an important experience

jonny wilkinson
Wilkinson was part of the England squad during the 1998 tour Photo: Adidas

jonny wilkinson

England fly-half Jonny Wilkinson says his last visit to Dunedin in New Zealand ended up being one of the “building blocks” of his career.

The 32-year-old was part of the England squad for the 1998 tour, where Sir Clive Woodward’s men conceded nine tries and lost 64-22 to the All Blacks at Carisbrook.

Now, as England gear up for their World Cup opener against Argentina in the same city 13 years later, Wilkinson admits that defeat taught him a valuable lesson.

“It was a big building block in my life,” he said ahead of England’s first Pool B clash on Saturday. “Who knows what would have happened if you take that one away?

“We got hammered by a much better team and we learned what it takes to be the best that day. It has been important to me.

“We thought we knew what we were doing but you find out just how far short you are. I still have that lesson now and not just in rugby.

“Coming back you do realise how much following there is for rugby and how much pride there is in performance.

“It does give you that little boost to know that when you come here to play, you have got to bring the best you have otherwise you will get hurt.”

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