Wilkinson back on top of the world
February 27, 2011
England's Jonny Wilkinson slots a record-breaking penalty at Twickenham © Getty Images
England fly-half Jonny Wilkinson has played down the importance of reclaiming the all-time Test points record.
The 31-year-old playmaker came off the bench to land an important penalty during England's 17-9 Six Nations victory over France at Twickenham that saw him reclaim the all-time leading Test points record from New Zealand's Dan Carter.
Wilkinson came on to replace Toby Flood, who was suffering from an ankle injury, after 50 minutes and his first act was to line up a 46-metre penalty. The successful kick took Wilkinson past Carter and onto the new record mark of 1,190. The Toulon No.10 will no doubt have chances to add to his record as England look to close out the Grand Slam against Scotland and Ireland in the coming weeks with Carter not due to return to the international stage until the start of the Tri-Nations in July.
"It is maybe the first time in my career I have been aware of the situation - and that was only because someone told me in the week," Wilkinson said. "They told me Carter had taken the record and I said 'brilliant, awesome for him'. And then someone said: 'Actually, you are quite close to taking it back'.
"I did wonder if I would get a penalty today if I came on - and it came up first thing. The record doesn't mean that much to me, it is just nice to get straight into the game."
Flood was replaced after suffering an ankle injury and he admitted afterwards to feeling guilty at leaving Wilkinson with a tough shot at goal. But Wilkinson relished the chance to get straight into the game and he took over seamlessly, creating two scoring opportunities in the final quarter.
Chris Ashton butchered one when he failed to spot Danny Care on his inside while Mike Tindall was denied by referee George Clancy, who penalised him harshly for a double movement.
"It was a good way to enter," Wilkinson said. "When you come on you are searching for the feel of the game. It is very difficult to execute things when you haven't got a feel of what is going on so you want anything that gets you involved. With a kick like that, you are then going back to receive the kick-off. It makes you feel like you are starting afresh."
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
"When Mike Burton was sent off I thought the world had gone crazy - just Pommy bashing, hitting anyone." Behind the Rose heads back to 1975
The time for tinkering is over - England must nail their colours to the mast in key positions, writes Phil Vickery
"New Zealand-born Joe Schmidt has forged the Irish into a street-smart, well- prepared side," John Mitchell on the Irish renaissance
"I am bored of hearing 'I can't fault the effort'. Let us take that for granted and look for some quality." John Taylor writes