Wilkinson praises Toulon depth
October 11, 2010
Jonny Wilkinson has praised Toulon's strength-in-depth © Getty Images
Jonny Wilkinson is preparing to spearhead Toulon's assault on Munster's fortress, Thomond Park, on Saturday and the England fly-half insists that their strength-in-depth is sufficient for a major assault on Europe.
Wilkinson played a vital role in his side's victory over the Ospreys at the Stade Mayol last weekend, kicking 14 points and crafting Paul Sackey's late try, and he has dismissed the idea that they fielded a weakened XV against the Welsh region.
"A good strength to have at a club is the fact of being able to say there is no first team or reserve/second team," he said. "You want to have a team where everyone is capable and can play at the same level. If you have that then that is great.
"There are certain partnerships which tend to work, or you want to use certain combinations against certain opposition, but that's the joy of rugby. Everyone deserves their turn because all the players work hard for a place. There are players playing for their lives rather than just out there knowing that they will play next week and it is impossible to answer the question as to how strong the team against the Ospreys was.
"We train together every day and you do hate the fact that some players are not playing, or not playing as much, as others. That is one of the unfortunate side-effects but you need a big squad. It wasn't a weakened team out there but I'm encouraged that the players came in showed they deserve to play."
Toulon will get little change out of Munster with anything resembling a weakened outfit and given their loss to London Irish in round one, skipper Denis Leamy is hoping for a big performance from the two-time champions.
"We did get a losing bonus point and I guess that that is something but we were disappointed with the result," he said. "We went to the Madejski for the win and we did not get that which is hugely disappointing.
"We did dig really deep to get out from the massive hole we had created for ourselves and get that losing bonus point. That is a positive but really it was four points lost and it will be a big challenge against Toulon at Thomond Park.
"However, in this fantastic tournament every match is like one-off game and every one of them is a massive game in its own right. This is a must win game - as almost every game is in the Heineken Cup - and we are really looking forward to the game and, hopefully, getting a good result."
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
The reopening of the openside debate, a dominant wolf-pack and a sublime performance in defeat - Monday Maul looks at the weekend's talking points
The latest Week in Pictures takes in the Rugby Championship alongside the best photographs from around the domestic game
Amy Perrett, the Australian referee who whistled the Women's Rugby World Cup final after handling only six Tests, talks to Jamie Lyall
John Griffiths digs into the distant past to try to establish the identity of an England international whose life is a virtual mystery