Wilko: Forget about me, Owen is writing his own story
February 18, 2013
Jonny Wilkinson on all things Toulon, England and clothing
Farrell's blend of brutal defence and near-perfect kicking has been key to England's unbeaten start to this year's Six Nations and seen many liken him to Wilkinson who made his name with an equally potent mix but the Rugby World Cup winner insists that such parallels do not do the 21-year-old justice.
"I'm not in the England changing room but, from what I gather, the guys look across at Owen sitting there and are inspired," Wilkinson told the Mail on Sunday. "They feel a sense of security and a sense of confidence. I get the impression the guys say, "Thank God he's there", and, "I can't wait to see what he does next", Owen's a leader and a great player who will only get better. I'm excited to see just how much better.
"I know people are making comparisons. But forget about me, Owen's writing his own story now and doing it very well. What sets the best apart is that they don't just do all the obvious stuff for all to see, such as the big hits, the clever passes and the crucial kicks. It's the other stuff that only a player can fully appreciate.
"I'm talking about making a nine-out-of-ten tackle, getting back on to your feet and making another tackle, say an eight-out-of-ten, within seconds, getting up again, making a third tackle in the space of a couple of minutes, then receiving the ball and making the right decision to set off an attack, before, moments later, placing the ball down and preparing to kick what could be three crucial points. That requires a mental toughness that I can see in Owen, and strong leadership."
Wilkinson, whose Toulon side remain in the hunt for both Top 14 and Heineken Cup glory, also revealed he remains undecided about his own future. The 33-year-old is out of contract at the end of the season and is weighing up the offer of a new deal and retirement with what would be a third British & Irish Lions tour later this year further clouding the issue.
"It's a life decision, not a career decision," he told the newspaper. "I don't do rugby as a job; I live it. I can't stop thinking about it. Ever! I can't see myself stopping, even though I'll have to at some point. My mind's going mad thinking about it and I still have no idea what I'm going to decide.
"I love it here and I know I'm playing well. People ask me about the Lions and I say if I'm picked I'd be delighted. If not, then life goes on."
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