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Heineken Cup: Jonny Wilkinson thrilled to help Toulon reach the final

Last updated: 28th April 2013  

Heineken Cup: Jonny Wilkinson thrilled to help Toulon reach the final

Jonny Wilkinson is mobbed by team-mates after scoring a crucial drop-goal

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.

Jonny Wilkinson
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Toulon fly-half Jonny Wilkinson was understandably delighted after kicking all of his side's points as they beat Saracens 24-12 at Twickenham to secure their place in the Heineken Cup final.

The England international enjoyed a 100% success rate, slotting over seven penalties and a late drop-goal that broke Sarries' resolve, but Wilkinson was keen to pay tribute to the English side.

"It was great to come out on top against a team like Saracens, it's a big thing for us," he said.

"It didn't go fantastically well for us and we didn't do some of the things we wanted to do.

"But it was all about fighting hard until the last minute and hanging on. Spirit and determination got us there."

One intriguing moment in the contest came six minutes from time when Wilkinson stabbed over his drop-goal as Farrell clattered into him, with the two sharing friendly words afterwards.

"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."

Lions

The British and Irish Lions squad to tour Australia is announced on Tuesday and the pressure is mounting on head coach Warren Gatland to find a place for Wilkinson on the plane, despite his insistence on not selecting French-based players.

Wilkinson himself remained modest about his chances of inclusion, insisting there are others who might be more likely to get the nod.

"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 added.

"There's young players like Owen Farrell and Toby Flood for England, Dan Biggar for Wales and Ireland's Jonny Sexton, who are taking rugby forward and it's their era.

"I want those guys to experience that because they deserve it. I'm digging my fingernails in and hanging on really."

Toulon head coach Bernard Laporte was happy to praise Wilkinson though after his skipper turned in a man-of-the-match performance.

"Jonny was huge today," he said. "Great players win great matches and today that was the case.

"Our English players were extremely good and wanted to show in their homeland that they are not finished. Jonny is a great player and has been for a long time.

"Clermont are a benchmark - they are excellent. But I don't think we are particularly bad and we look forward to playing them in the final."

Forthcoming European Rugby Champions Cup Fixtures
TimeFixture
European Rugby Champions Cup
Friday 17th October
European Rugby Champions Cup
19:45Harlequins vs Castres
Saturday 18th October
13:00Sale vs Munster
15:15Saracens vs Clermont Auvergne
19:45Leicester vs Ulster
15:15Glasgow vs Bath
17:15Racing Metro 92 vs Northampton
Sunday 19th October
17:15Leinster vs Wasps
15:15Toulon vs Scarlets
13:00Toulouse vs Montpellier
13:00Ospreys vs Benetton Treviso
Friday 24th October
19:45Munster vs Saracens
Saturday 25th October
13:00Ulster vs Toulon
19:45Scarlets vs Leicester
15:15Bath vs Toulouse
17:15Montpellier vs Glasgow
17:15Northampton vs Ospreys
Sunday 26th October
13:00Clermont Auvergne vs Sale
15:00Castres vs Leinster
17:15Wasps vs Harlequins
17:15Benetton Treviso vs Racing Metro 92
Saturday 6th December
TBCMunster vs Clermont Auvergne
TBCSale vs Saracens
TBCCastres vs Wasps
TBCHarlequins vs Leinster
TBCUlster vs Scarlets

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Phil Edwards

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