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Could Jonny B Back?
Posted Mar 29, 2011 by Shaun Edwards
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You would hope that after their five matches in the Six Nations, England have learned some significant lessons regarding their selection in time for the World Cup. However, one of the most surprising opinions voiced on the matter has come from the All-Blacks star Sonny Bill Williams, who has stated his belief that England should re-instate Jonny Wilkinson into the fly-half position in time for the tournament.
Wilkinson’s status as a rugby legend (especially in England) was sealed when the number ten kicked the drop-goal than won England the World Cup back in 2003, and the appreciation that English fans still feel for the Toulon man is very widely audible through the thunderous ovations that he still receives at Twickenham whenever he is brought onto the field.
With ongoing injury scares the reason that Wilkinson initially lost his place, there will always remain the argument that if fit, he should still be a priority selection for England, especially in tournaments such as the world cup where Wilkinson’s renowned ice-cool temperament would be ideally suited.
When asked about the England number ten position, Williams noted that ‘when the game is in the balance Jonny is the player you want to have out there. He’s mentally very tough and if you see him in the gym he trains like an animal.’
Toby Flood – the man who now regularly occupies the number ten shirt, has been lauded for excellent performances during the Six Nations, but will always find it hard to completely remove the stigma that is Wilkinson waiting in the wings for his chance to once again return to glory. It will be intriguing to see just how Martin Johnson will react (if at all) to these comments regarding the talismanic fly-half.