In-form Wilkinson will not be a late addition to the Lions squad

THE BRITISH and Irish Lions fly to Hong Kong on Monday to commence their packed summer schedule, but head coach Warren Gatland has revealed in-form fly-half Jonny Wilkinson will not be a late addition to his 37-man party.

Wilkinson, who won the World Cup with England in 2003, proved his left foot remains just as reliable 10 years on when he kicked three penalties and a conversion to help Toulon beat Clermont 16-15 in the Heineken Cup final on Saturday.

The 33-year-old has scored 463 points this season, the best return in Europe, and won the European Player of the Year award on Sunday.

Yet Gatland insists his stance over whether to call-up Wilkinson remains unchanged, unless Lions No10s Owen Farrell or Jonathan Sexton suffer injury.

“We’ve been through the conversation that we had with Jonny and nothing’s changed on that,” he said. “If we picked up an injury on tour then maybe there’s a conversation to be had.

“Jonny’s a good player, but we’ve had the conversation about him.”

Wilkinson initially rejected a call-up from Gatland due to concerns over his own fitness.

But Gatland’s opposite number, Robbie Deans, admits it would be no surprise to see Wilkinson line-up against Australia for the first Test in Brisbane on 22 June.

“It wouldn’t surprise us at all [to see Wilkinson],” said the Wallabies head coach. “What a remarkable story that would be if Jonny was to return, he has had a great career.”