Jonny Wilkinson impressed by England’s fly-half options
Jonny Wilkinson admits he is impressed with the quality England have at fly-half going into their Six Nations campaign
Jonny Wilkinson has admitted he is impressed with the quality England have at their disposal at fly-half going into their Six Nations campaign.
Wilkinson, who says he has no desire to return to international duty, was speaking after helping his Toulon side beat Sale 17-6 in the Heineken Cup – the French side’s third straight Pool 6 win.
He was involved in a battle with another former England No10 in Danny Cipriani and came out on top by scoring four penalties to Cipriani’s two.
Having seen Toby Flood play the majority of England’s autumn campaign, and then watching as Owen Farrell and Freddie Burns starred in the thrilling win over New Zealand, Wilkinson is confident Red Rose head coach Stuart Lancaster has plenty to ponder.
“I’m not really in for the number 10 jersey but, if you put the other four guys in that bracket – and more because there are other guys around that are coming through – then it is in good health,” he said.
“The key is to continue what they are doing, which is a relentless pursuit of precision, of execution and consistency, and the guys do that fabulously, which is why they’re not throw-away names now.
“You’ve got guys who are stepping up. They are pushing each other. Whoever has that jersey has got it because they have had to push their level above what the other guys are doing.”
To press Wilkinson’s point, Gloucester’s Burns continued his fine form with a 24-point haul that helped his side to a 29-22 win over London Irish in the Amlin Challenge Cup.
He kicked five penalties and two conversions as well as scoring a try at the Madejski Stadium.
Farrell was left disappointed however, as his Saracens side went down 15-9 at Munster in Heineken Cup Pool 1, with Ireland fly-half Ronan O’Gara kicking all of the home side’s points.
In the same pool, Edinburgh suffered their third straight defeat at Racing Metro 92, while in Pool 5 Exeter Chiefs picked up their first ever win in the competition, beating Scarlets -who suffered from an injury to Wales star Rhys Priestland – by 22-16.
There was a win for Toulouse over Ospreys, while Aviva Premiership champions Harlequins hammered Zebre 57-14 in Italy.
Elsewhere in the Amlin Cup, Bath eased to a 67-11 thrashing of Calvisano, running in eight second-half tries against the Italian outfit.
Newport Gwent Dragons were also victorious against Italian opposition, the Welsh side winning 33-0 at Mogliano.