Monday, April 29, 2013

Jonny Wilkinson seals Man of the Match performance with trademark drop goal

The Heineken Cup Semi Final between Saracens and Toulon wasn't much of a spectacle, but there was one moment in particular that stood out, as Jonny Wilkinson snapped a well taken drop-goal to cap off a record breaking performance.

Toulon won 24-12 at Twickenham, booking their place in the final of the tournament, where they will meet the highly formiddable Clermont, who themselves beat Munster on Saturday.

Wilkinson was a clear winner in the battle of the boot, as he kicked seven penalties and an excellent dropgoal to get the better of young Owen Farrell. The England veteran may have played his way into the British & Irish Lions squad, while Farrell possibly played his way out of it.

The man himself played down speculation that he may make the tour, but those who have watched him over the last few weeks can see a man who has marshalled a team of stars to the top of the French Top 14, and now, a European Cup Final.

He has scored 45 points in the two knock-out games, kicking six penalties and a drop goal to defeat Leicester Tigers in the quarter final, and now this semi final record points haul of 24.

The pressure is now on coach Warren Gatland, who announces his squad tomorrow (Tuesday), as fans, pundits, and players all offered their opinions yesterday following the superb all round game by the 33 year-old world cup winner.

Reaction to Wilkinson's performance

"In my opinion the three 10's would be Sexton, Farrell & Wilkinson." - Dan Carter

"He is masterclass. If I was an Australian, I would say don't take Wilko for the Lions!" - John Smit

"As an Australian, it's good to be on Wilko's side for once when he scores a drop-goal. Many times Jonny's finished my World Cup hopes so I want to hate the guy – I've said this many times – but he's a great guy and great for the team." - Matt Giteau.

"In terms of Lions tours, they are all about the here and now. If Gatland is looking for a kicking 10 then it is pretty hard to argue against taking him. He's the best right now. In both the quarter-final and semi-final he has defined the game."  - Dean Ryan

"If you need to play a game where accumulation of points is based on powerful and direct running of athletic and large players, is there a better No. 10 available? When Gatland announces his Lions tour party tomorrow it will be a mistake not to have Wilkinson in it." - Brian Moore

Below is the drop goal he kicked under pressure from Farrell, as well as the praise heaped on him by commentator Stuart Barnes. You can also view a short excerpt from his post match interview, and find out what he said to Farrell as they watched the ball sail through for another three points.

Your Opinion: Would you include him in the Lions squad?

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Posted by Rugbydump at 3:06 pm | View Comments (13)

Posted in Heineken Cup, See it to Believe it

Viewing 13 comments

Honisett2002 April 29, 2013 7:10 pm

such a sportsman - through and through - if he's not on the plane its a crime, he's been amazing in France for the past few years and is at the moment the inform fly half for England, no questions.

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Tobo April 29, 2013 7:29 pm

The guy's been immense all year, watching him yesterday vs. Saracens showed that he is still better than any English no. 10 around right now. Get him on the plane, Gatland!!

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Haldir April 29, 2013 7:45 pm

You just can't argue against taking him, he's one of the form 10's in the world, he has a proven record in Aus. Brian Moore summed it up well - with 20 to go in a close test, bringing Jonny on would strike the fear into the Aussies, I really hope he, Sexton and Madigan go as the 10 options.

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Hernan April 29, 2013 8:53 pm

We'll gladly take him for the Pumas if the Lions do not want him

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Juggernauter April 29, 2013 10:19 pm

Should abolutely travel as back up for Sexton. Biggar, Weir, Jackson, O'Gara just arenĀ“t that good to make the Lions and honestly Farrell can kick goals and tackle but he can't get a backline moving, and in the hard pitches of Oz that'll be a must. Wilko is a master at finishing games and he's up there with BOD and O'Connell in the experience front, so I say take him, Gats, you won't regret it.

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thunor April 30, 2013 12:05 am

I'm surprised that Charlie Hodgson hasn't been mentioned more. He might not be a 'fashionable' player, but he is probably the best passing fly-half bar none, and his kicking has been superb lately. Even his defence seems pretty good, which has been an area cited as his weakness.

If they want something different to those names being bandied around, I think he could be a seriously good pick. He might be towards the end of his career, but on present form I think he could be an excellent choice - he has certainly been superior to Farrell in every area aside from place kicking.

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Guy April 29, 2013 10:24 pm

Great gestures between both flyhalfs as they watch the ball sail through the uprights; Wilko consoling Farell, Farell congratulating Wilko.

That's rugby through and through. God I love this sport!!!

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browner April 30, 2013 3:45 pm

So do I, thats why Gougers, high hitting tacklers Biters, & limb bend/breakers should be removed from the sport.

Be Physically very hard, but always be fair.

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Pete April 30, 2013 10:12 am

What really sets Wilkinson apart is things like his reaction to the final whistle in this clip. He walks straight to his opposite number and then his old rival for the England 10 jersey, Charlie Hodgson and makes a point of shaking their hands and congratulating them on a good game before he joins in with the celebrations of the rest of his team. He practically pushes two of his own team away to allow him to do so. That's a sportsman right there.

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peter UK April 30, 2013 11:23 am

There is or never has been any doubt about the skill and class of JW, but you have to put your Management head on when making huge decisions of selection and look at the whole picture, asking the questions "How do I Manage this guy" will JC's body cope with the stress and strain of gruelling tour after a long season? and does this mean I need to keep him wrapped up in cotton wool for the or 3 or 4 province games, where make no mistake he will be targeted to be taken out before the first test? also what will our Test tactical game plan be to accommodate JC, keep it tight, rolling mauls and wait for the mistakes for JC to cash in on? the man is a sporting legend but has he got one more swan song in him, I think not.

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Canadian content April 30, 2013 4:58 pm

I'm not ashamed to say I had tears in my minds over the beauty of the moment after Jonny hit the sealing droppie. The young, ambitious up and comer striving to everything possible to win and falling short, yet being consoled by the old master who knows both the pain of defeat and the joy of victory. Beautiful.

Jonny will tour eventually, has to, otherwise gatland is a fool

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Guest April 30, 2013 5:26 pm

Any chance of seeing highlights of the whole game? I missed it and am interested to see the wasted Sarries try scoring opportunities/

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Ben April 30, 2013 11:00 pm

What a class act.

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