Don’t pick me in Lions squad, says Wilkinson

WORLD Cup winner Jonny Wilkinson has told Lions head coach Warren Gatland to forget about including him in the squad for the summer tour to Australia, despite outscoring rival fly-half Owen Farrell to kick Toulon into the Heineken Cup final at Saracens’ expense with a 24-12 win at Twickenham.

Wilkinson, England’s highest point scorer of all time, retired from international rugby in 2011, but rolled back the years yesterday to put himself into contention for a summer Down Under when Gatland names his Lions squad tomorrow.

However, the 33-year-old believes Gatland should opt for youth over experience.

“The Lions is difficult for me because it’s not at all that I wouldn’t consider it, it would be fabulous. It’s up there with the most amazing experiences you can get in rugby,” he said. “But I watch guys like Owen Farrell, Toby Flood, Dan Biggar and Jonathan Sexton and it is them who are driving rugby forward.

“Perhaps they should be the ones driving this tour forward as well.”

Farrell opened the scoring for Saracens with a successful penalty, but Wilkinson kicked between the posts three times in the opening 18 minutes to put the French club in control of the semi-final.

The No10’s continued to trade blows in front of the sparse Twickenham crowd, as the first half ended 12-9 to Toulon with Farrell missing a long-range penalty attempt with the final kick of the opening 40 minutes.

The sides were level 10 minutes into the second half and as Saracens looked to gain the upper hand a forward pass from Farrell broke up a promising counter attack inside the Toulon 22.

Wilkinson duly dispatched a penalty from inside his own half to restore Toulon’s advantage and wrapped things up with seven minutes to go as he side-stepped a tackle from Farrell, for which he apologised afterwards, and drilled over a drop goal.

“When Owen tackled me, he said ‘I didn’t go through’ and I said ‘I’m really sorry, I didn’t deserve that, it was down to luck’,” added Wilkinson. “He played brilliantly and didn’t deserve that.”