Wilkinson targets European glory
October 7, 2012
Jonny Wilkinson has twice been on the losing side in Amlin Challenge Cup finals for Toulon © PA Photos
Jonny Wilkinson is aiming to finally get his hands on some European silverware as Toulon prepare to begin their Heineken Cup campaign at home to Montpellier next Sunday.
Wilkinson has twice been on the losing side in the Amlin Challenge Cup final. In 2010 his first season on France's south coast ended when Cardiff Blues fought back to win 28-21, then last season his Toulon side lost 21-18 to Biarritz in the final at the Twickenham Stoop.
Currently Toulon are first in the Top 14 with a record of six wins from six, a run he says they will aim to continue when the welcome their south coast rivals to the Stade Felix Mayol.
"The policy at Toulon is that every game is important, never mind which tournament it is in," Wilkinson told The Observer. "It means everything to me to be successful in the Heineken Cup: it is the biggest club tournament in northern hemisphere rugby, all the top teams coming together in the ultimate competition. I would adore to be part of the winning team."
In the past week Wilkinson admitted he would like to be considered for the Lions tour to Australia next year even though he retired from England duty following last year's World Cup. England are due to face South Africa, Australia, New Zealand and Fiji in Test matches in the autumn and while Wilkinson will not be involved, he will be an interested onlooker, in particular in who will is chosen at fly-half.
"The autumn international series will be very big for England," he said. "England have good options in my position: Toby Flood has creativity and toughness and is looking like the finished article. Owen Farrell is young but has tenacity and mental toughness. You can build on that forever: he can go far because he has the base.
"In the midfield, Manu Tuilagi is an explosive player and England need the opposition to focus on certain players because it opens up space for everyone else. They key is to have, ruthless, mentally tough players and game-breakers who are willing to stand up and take the heat, and who can make decisions. England have a lot going for them."
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