Wilkinson excited by new challenge
May 19, 2009
Wilkinson has not played since dislocating his knee cap whilst playing for Newcastle against Gloucester in October © Getty Images
Jonny Wilkinson is relishing his big-money move to Toulon and has set his sights on getting back into the England side.
The 29-year-old fly-half brought the curtain down on his 12-year association with Premiership side Newcastle Falcons on Monday by signing a two-year deal with the big-spending Top 14 club.
"A fresh start, I feel, is what I need and I will get it there," Wilkinson wrote in his column in The Times. "I feel like a kid again.
"I have signed for two years with an option to cancel after one year. That was my decision because I want to stay in control of my future, but I would hope and expect it to be a success and for me to re-sign for longer. And I hope that this will be the springboard to what I see as another five years in my career.
"I hope it will give me the games to rebuild an international career, too. I haven't played, for obvious reasons, and so I haven't figured for England and I want that to change. And because I haven't had the games, I have just seen a Lions tour slip by."
Wilkinson admitted that he is yet to have the all-important medical, which will come next week, but he said he is confident his knee will come through all the tests. "I don't see it as an issue," he said. "Physically I am now fine. I wouldn't be signing for next season if I wasn't going to be playing."
Wilkinson paid tribute to the Newcastle Falcons and thanked them for standing by him through his injury problems, but admitted he had felt the need to move on to break out of a continuous cycle of injuries.
"I've wanted to pay back Newcastle for so long, but after a while you have to ask: am I actually achieving that?" he said. "It had got to the point where I wasn't helping by being around the club any more and the association of me as an injured, non-playing person had set in and I hated that. A different club will help me to escape all that negative energy."
As Ray McLoughlin prepares to celebrate his 75th birthday, Huw Richards pays tribute to the man and the selectors who had the wisdom to bring him into the Ireland fold
John Taylor argues the world's best XVs players must be given a chance to play in the Olympics to increase the appeal of the game
The All Blacks' form is not a peaking issue, but Hansen must threaten to wield his axe, to demand improvement, Craig Dowd writes
"It has been the World Cup that smashed down the gender barriers of the sport." Tom Hamilton looks back at a remarkable tournament