Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

I Want to Play against Wasps, Says Wilkinson

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

I Want to Play against Wasps, Says Wilkinson

Article excerpt

Byline: By Alan Hedley

Jonny Wilkinson arrived back in Newcastle yesterday and immediately raised the prospect of playing against Wasps in Saturday's Zurich Premiership match in front of a sell-out crowd at Kingston Park.

The Falcons World Cup hero will be back on the training field today to practice his kicking.

And while Newcastle have said they would be happy for Wilkinson just to be at Saturday's game, the 24-year-old England fly-half said: "I'm ready to play and I'm available. I'm not injured, I will be out practising and I'm anxious to get back to it.

"I'll talk to a few people about Saturday and we'll see what happens but the guys have been doing great while I've been away."

Newcastle will name their side tomorrow and it could well be that the two men who played such vital roles in the Saturday's World Cup win will be in direct opposition - Wilkinson at number 10 for Newcastle and Lawrence Dallaglio in the back row for Wasps.

Last night, Newcastle had just 300 seats and 1,000 terrace tickets left and Saturday's game against Wasps will be a 10,000 sell-out. That's the Wilkinson factor.

Wilkinson arrived at Kingston Park to be confronted by a media scrum and he insisted he wanted to return to his normal life as quickly as possible.

There does not seem to be much chance of that, but Wilkinson hopes he can find his release on the rugby field.

"I'm keen to get on with life now," he said. "I'm back but I'm keen not to forget, not to lose memories like that

"Above all I am desperately keen to maintain the lifestyle I have which allows me to prepare for what I love doing.

"I will desperately try not to let anything get in the way of that.

"I want to continue being myself and I can't play rugby any other way than I do now."

Early in the day, Wilkinson was taken aback by the intensity of the England team's reception at Heathrow Airport.

He was also surprised by the manic Press conferences at the squad's Bagshot base and then at Newcastle. …

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