Fit Wilkinson looking to Wallabies clash - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Fit Wilkinson looking to Wallabies clash

By Justin Chadwick 02/06/2010 05:20:52 PM Comments (0)

Australia's arch nemesis Jonny Wilkinson has dismissed fears about his fitness, claiming he will be up and running well before England's June 12 clash with a "dangerous" Wallabies unit in Perth.

Reports from England had Wilkinson in doubt for the tour of Australasia due to a rib injury he picked up in Toulon's European Challenge Cup final defeat to Cardiff on May 23.

But the 31-year-old, who revealed it was a knock to his back and not the ribs that had temporarily grounded him, declared he was a certainty to front the Wallabies and would even be available for Tuesday's warm-up match against the Barbarians.

"Injury wise I'm fine," Wilkinson said in Perth on Wednesday.

"I just took a knock to the back but ... I've already had a week and I'm probably being held back by the physios now rather than anything else.

"I'm the one that wants to get on there (but they're) telling me to just take a few more days.

"(There's) probably enough time to easily get ready and be on the training field at the same time as everyone else."

England coach Martin Johnson hinted he would unleash Wilkinson against the Wallabies rather than risking him against the Barbarians.

"Jonny's had more games than most of the players this year with the season in France so we'll see," Johnson said.

Wilkinson has been dogged by injury since his injury-time drop goal in the 2003 World Cup final sunk the hearts of Australians.

The star England five-eighth is aiming to make his fourth World Cup in 2011 but refused to speculate on how much longer he could last at the highest level.

"One thing I've recognised is you can't really say how long you are going to play for," he said.

"When I was 18 I said I wanted to play until I was 45, that's changed a bit now.

"As you get older you realise you've just got to go as long as you've got the opportunity, you've just got to make the most of it.

"Regardless of how many more you get to play, the World Cup is enough to focus on.

"The chance to play in one World Cup in your career is a big, big thing, so to play one more would be enormous.

"That's the aim."

Wilkinson was quick to praise Robbie Deans' Wallabies unit, which he predicts will be a major force at the 2011 World Cup in New Zealand.

"You've got a good mix of power, strength, speed and enthusiasm," he said.

"Some of the stuff in the Super 14 being played is enormously ambitious as well.

"Australia's always been tactically astute (and) mixed with this enthusiasm and desire to give it a go is dangerous.

"A team like that is going to be in great shape for the World Cup."

England face a testing June schedule, with two Tests against the Wallabies, two outings against the Barbarians and one match against New Zealand Maori all played in the space of 16 days.

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