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John Griffiths | Columnist Index
John Griffiths is a widely respected rugby historian and is the author of several sports books, including The Book of English International Rugby, The Book of International Rugby Records, British Lions, The Five Nations Championship, Rugby's Strangest Matches and Rugby's Greatest Characters. He was a regular contributor to the Daily Telegraph for 19 years and is co-author of the IRB International Rugby Yearbook. He has also provided insight for Scrum.com since 1999.
Ask John
Jonny Wilkinson - the points machine
John Griffiths
June 5, 2013
Saracens' Owen Farrell and Toulon's Jonny Wilkinson watch the latter's drop goal go over the posts, Saracens v Toulon, Heineken Cup semi-final, Twickenham, April 28, 2013
Jonny Wilkinson steered Toulon past Owen Farrell's Saracens at Twickenham in this season's Heineken Cup © PA Photos
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Welcome to the latest edition of Ask John where renowned rugby historian John Griffiths will answer any rugby-related query you have!

So, if there's something you've always wanted to know about the game we love but didn't know who to ask, or you think you can stump our expert - then get involved by sending us a question.

In this edition, John answers a series of questions on Jonny Wilkinson, the Lions' first meeting with the Barbarians and free-scoring replacements.

I'm one of the many fans who went to Honk Kong to watch the British & Irish Lions play the Barbarians. However, being an avid rugby and history fan, I have been trying to unearth information on the first meeting between the two sides for the Queen's Silver Jubilee celebrations in 1977. Can you tell me the starting teams for the match? Jacob Shorrock, England

The match was staged in front of a full house at Twickenham on Saturday 10th September, 1977. It was a glorious, warm day and the first big match played under the new "free-kick" (or dispensation penalty) laws. The Lions won 23-14

The Lions had played their last tour match three-and-a-half weeks earlier, losing 25-21 to Fiji in Suva. But their match fitness told against the Baa-Baas in the first half when they ran up a commanding 15-0 lead. The scratch side came into their own after the interval to score three tries, one of which was converted by their captain for the day, Gerald Davies.

The details were as follows:

British & Irish Lions: A R Irvine; P J Squires, S P Fenwick, I R McGeechan, G L Evans; P Bennett (captain), D W Morgan; F E Cotton, P J Wheeler, G Price, W B Beaumont, G L Brown, D L Quinnell, W P Duggan, A Neary Replacement: H E Rees for Squires (60 mins)

Scorers Tries: Fenwick, Evans, Irvine Conversion: Bennett Penalty Goals: Bennett (2), Irvine

Barbarians: J P R Williams; T G R Davies (captain), R W R Gravell, C P Kent, D J McKay; D S Richards, G O Edwards; B G Nelmes, D F Madsen, F M D Knill, G A D Wheel, R M Wilkinson, J-P Rives, J-P Bastiat, J-C Skrela.

Scorers Tries: Williams, Gravell, McKay Conversion: Davies

Referee: N R Sanson (Scotland

Do you have a full record - season by season - for Jonny Wilkinson in the Top 14 with Toulon? PW, England

Jonny went to Toulon in 2009. His appearance in the Top 14/French Championship Final at the weekend was his 82nd for Toulon in that competition.

The summary of his playing record in the tournament is:

Jonny Wilkinson's Top 14 record
Season Appearances Tries Conversions Penalties Drop Goals Total
2009-10 18 1 21 51 10 230
2010-11 19 2 21 59 15 274
2011-12 21 0 24 75 0 273
2012-13 24 0 47 85 8 373
Totals 82 3 113 270 33 1150

What is Jonny Wilkinson's record in all his appearances in matches at Twickenham? AK, England

His first competitive match at Twickenham Stadium was for the England Schools (18 Group) against their French counterparts on Saturday March 22nd, 1997. At the time he was a pupil at Lord Wandsworth College in Hampshire.

He kicked two conversions and two penalty goals in a 20-10 win, lining up with future England full internationals Iain Balshaw, Tom May, David Flatman, Andrew Sheridan (then a lock) and Steve Borthwick. Mike Tindall came on as a replacement during the game

For England Schools 18 group (1997):
v France Schools (UNSS), Points scored: 10

His senior international debut was there just over a year later on Saturday April 4th, 1998 when he came on as a 78th-minute replacement for Mike Catt (who was playing on the wing that day) against Ireland.

Wilkinson had played only a handful of Premiership matches for Newcastle Falcons - mostly off the bench - and had made one appearance for the club in the RFU Cup competition when Clive Woodward blooded him. Only 18, Jonny was the youngest to play for England since Colin Laird in 1927.

His last Twickenham Test appearance was against Wales in August 2011 in a RWC warm-up match. His total of 650 international points is the all-time individual record for Twickenham Tests - over three times more than the next best.

Jonny Wilkinson's England record at Twickenham
Opponents Run on Tests Off the bench Total Points scored
Argentina 2 0 2 25
Australia 4 0 4 69
Canada 1 0 1 11
Fiji 1 0 1 23
France 4 2 6 80
Ireland 3 2 5 51
Italy 4 1 5 96
New Zealand 3 0 3 38
Scotland 4 1 5 72
South Africa 3 0 3 49
United States 1 0 1 26
Wales 6 0 6 110
Summary 36 6 42 650

The first of his few Twickenham club appearances was for Newcastle on Saturday 23rd May, 1998. The end-of-season special match pitched Newcastle Falcons (as the season's Premiership champions) against the Sanyo World XV and saw Jonny make his first senior start in the #10 shirt. (He'd played centre for them before). Rob Andrew, the club's usual first-choice at #10, replaced him at half-time.

The Falcons won 47-41, Jonny kicking two conversions. He also appeared in two RFU Cup Finals (against Harlequins and Wasps) at the ground.

Jonny Wilkinson's Newcastle record at Twickenham
Opponents Run on Games Off the bench Total Points scored
Harlequins 1 0 1 10
Wasps 1 0 1 14
World XV 1 0 1 4
Summary 3 0 3 28

His only other Twickenham appearance was for Toulon in their winning Heineken Cup semi-final against Saracens in April.

Jonny Wilkinson's Toulon overall record at Twickenham
Opponents Run on Games Off the bench Total Points scored
Saracens 1 0 1 24
Summary 1 0 1 24

Jonny Wilkinson's record at Twickenham
Run on Games Off the bench Total Points scored Average
41 6 47 712 15

It was noted in the latest NZ Rugby Almanac that a Super team scored 27 of 36 points by replacement players. Who has scored the most points in a Test match as a replacement? Barry, New Zealand

The best contribution by a replacement player in a major Test is 22 by Federico Todeschini for Argentina in their maiden Twickenham Test win against England in November 2006.

He came on in that match as a 24th-minute sub for Gonzalo Tiesi and scored a try, converted it and kicked five penalties in the Pumas' 25-18 victory. Felipe Contepomi had landed a penalty goal before Todeschini arrived on the field.

Who has played in most Test wins in full internationals against France? GMH, New Zealand

Nine players have nine or more Test wins against France (as at June 5, 2013) :
12 - Jason Leonard
10 -Richie McCaw
10 - Keven Mealamu
10 - Gary Whetton
9 - Ali Williams (and one draw)
9 - Ma Nonu
9 - John Kirwan
9 - Jonny Wilkinson
9 - Tony Woodcock

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