June International Tours

England can’t hide Wilkinson

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The England coaching staff this week spoke about “hiding” ace fly-half Jonny Wilkinson from the Springboks in the second test between the two teams in Pretoria on Saturday.

However, Springbok coach Jake White feels Wilkinson is too special to “hide”.

Wilkinson, England’s top tackler in the 58-10 hammering in Bloemfontein last week, took a battering and in the early stages of the week was unable to train – recovering from facial lacerations and a bruised back.

This prompted the England team management to talk of “moving him out of the way” at tackle time, to avoid their most prized asset from getting injured.

However, White said he doesn’t believe Wilkinson will step aside and that he is the kind of player that will always put his body on the line.

“He [Wilkinson] is a talented player, but I don’t believe that he’s the only guy,”White said.

“They’ve got Jason Robinson that also breaks the line.

“However, he [Wilkinson] is a very special player and I don’t that you can hide him too much.

“It’s the nature of his play. The one thing I saw last week is that he doesn’t shy away from contact and Danie Rossouw [Bok No.8] ran at him from that one scrum … I don’t think Danie Rossouw has been tackled like that by a fly-half ever.

“Mike Ford [England backline coach] might be able to hide him [Wilkinson] in terms of the way he runs, but Jonny is not going to stand back when we go towards him,” the Bok coach added.

By Jan de Koning 365 Digital

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