Doubts grow over Wilkinson as World Cup enters last eight

FORMER England captain Martin Corry has urged manager Martin Johnson to put his faith in fly-half Toby Flood for the World Cup quarter-final against France.

Jonny Wilkinson was again preferred to Flood for Saturday’s 16-12 win over Scotland, which ensured England’s progress to the last eight.

However the veteran No10 was far from convincing, continuing his uncharacteristically erratic kicking with four penalty misses and two wayward drop goal attempts.

Wilkinson (inset) also picked up a forearm injury that could rule him out of Saturday’s clash with France, but Corry believes Flood deserves the nod regardless.

“I think you have to start going for horses for courses and it would probably swing back to Flood now,” said Corry, who played alongside Johnson and Wilkinson in the 2003 side that won the trophy.

“You look at Wilkinson and you don’t know how much it is him taking the options or how much it is pre-planned. You look at the drop-goal he missed, but also the kick he is taking from 45m-plus, at the angle.

“When Flood came on, he had a penalty and he just put it straight into the corner and England started to play from that. You start to think that is why England need a player who will turn down these high-risk penalty opportunities and start putting it in the corner.

“I don’t know if that is team orders, or Jonny Wilkinson, or the captain Lewis Moody saying go for it, but I think it is harming the way England are playing the game.”

Flood’s late introduction against Scotland prompted Chris Ashton to score England’s match-winning try, but Johnson defended the contribution of Wilkinson, who did succeed with two penalties and a drop goal.

“He missed some kicks at goal clearly but when we went to 12-3 we were potentially going home, said Johnson.

“But then he puts over a drop goal that gets us to 12-6 and he scores the next penalty. He kept his nerve and played with the courage and tenacity that he always plays with so I thought he showed the character that we needed along with everyone else.

“At times the team didn’t play well and any individual probably had an error in that game at some point, and good points as well. It was one of those game where we fought and fought and eventually got there to win.”

Wilkinson had a scan on his arm yesterday but Johnson said initial results were inconclusive.