Wilkinson relieved after match-winner
April 29, 2012
Jonny Wilkinson delivered when it mattered for Toulon © Getty Images
Jonny Wilkinson admits he may not have been able to face his team-mates if he had missed his match-winning drop-goal for Toulon against Stade Francais in their Amlin Challenge Cup semi-final.
Toulon will face Biarritz in the decider on May 18 following their 32-29 victory in the semi-final. Wilkinson kicked 27 points in the match, including the match-winning three pointer, making amends for missing five kicks at goal and two further drop-goal attempts during the clash.
"It was very tricky out there with the wind," said Wilkinson. "It was disappointing as well because had I put a couple of the other kicks over then maybe we might found ourselves with a lead.
"As it was they just kept getting back into the game, playing brilliantly and forced us to go right to the end. It could have gone either way.
"But you stick your head down and just go for it. I missed a couple off the tee and I thought with the drop goal at the end that if I miss this I might not go back into the changing room afterwards.
"I thought the guys deserved better than this after working so hard to get the penalties - I should have put a few more over. All you can do is keep fighting towards the end and keep trying to do the right thing.
The last-minute drop-goal conjured images of the 2003 Rugby World Cup final when Wikinson famously kicked England to an extra-time victory over Australia. Wilkinson again held his nerve on this occasion to deliver for Toulon from 40 metres out.
"I was trying to think clearly about the process, of where I was on the field," Wilkinson said. "I was thinking about what I was trying to do and getting the right contact and visualising in my mind what needed to be done to try to make it more said and done deal.
"You try to line the physical thing with what you put in your head beforehand and thankfully that went well.
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