Rugby Union: THE BOOT IS BACK; England get a kick out of Wilko return: Worcester 9 Newcastle 30.Byline: Alex SPINK
ENGLISH rugby forgot its troubles long enough to celebrate the return of Jonny Wilkinson Jonathan Peter Wilkinson OBE (born 25 May 1979 in Frimley, Surrey) is an English rugby union player and member of the England national team. From 2001-2003, before and during the 2003 Rugby World Cup, Wilkinson rose to fame for being one of the world’s best rugby players. to Zurich Premiership action yesterday.
Wilkinson kicked 15 points as Newcastle spoiled the party for newly-promoted Worcester in his first league game for eight months.
In so doing he lifted the gloom hanging over the sport in England Sport plays a prominent role in English life. The most popular team sport is football (soccer), followed by cricket, rugby union and rugby league. Major individual sports include athletics, tennis, golf, motorsport, and horseracing. following the dual resignations of international coach Sir Clive Woodward Sir Clive Ronald Woodward, CBE (born 6 January 1956 at Ely in Cambridgeshire) is a former English rugby union international who was the coach of the England rugby union team from 1997 to 2004. Woodward managed the England side to victory at the 2003 Rugby World Cup. and captain Lawrence Dallaglio Lawrence Bruno Nero Dallaglio MBE (born on August 10, 1972 in London) is an English rugby union player, the former captain of the English national team. He plays as a flanker or Number 8 for London Wasps, he has never played for another club, having arrived at Sudbury as a .
"The body feels good," confirmed the 25-year-old. "I still have to catch up on my level of instincts which will come with match experience and maybe I'll learn how to put myself around a bit better. But at the moment I've got no injuries and no complaints."
By emerging unscathed from a contest settled by two late Newcastle tries from Mark Mayerhofler and Stuart Grimes, Wilkinson has given caretaker England coach Andy Robinson For the actor see Andrew Robinson.
Andy Robinson (born 3 April 1964 in Taunton, Somerset) is a former English rugby union footballer who played openside flanker for Bath and England. a major boost at a critical time.
Robinson is hoping to be given the job on a permanent basis and having Wilkinson restored to the No.10 shirt for the autumn Tests against Canada, South Africa and Australia, can only help his cause.
Wilkinson refuses to rush back before he is ready, even if the rest of the country seems to have already installed him as skipper in succession to Dallaglio. "I felt pretty much on the pace but I've got a long way to go before I get to where I want to be," he warned. "I will concentrate on my own game and let everyone else decide when I'm ready to return to representative rugby."
A carnival atmosphere at Sixways, created by a capacity 8,300 crowd, basked in Worcester's long-awaited debut in the top flight. But then the game began and despite a ferocious start, which produced a six-point lead, the Warriors proved no match for the English Cup holders.
Wilkinson did miss two long-range kicks at goal, albeit by inches, but he made amends by converting Mike McCarthy's early try and then nailing another five attempts.
Newcastle chief Rob Andrew, who last week backed Wilkinson for the England captaincy, said: "I thought Jonny did well. He kicked well, his handling was good and he was comfortable with the pace of it all.
"We have not seen much of him in the last 18 months and it is going to make a huge difference to us having him back this season."
Andrew has been widely touted as a successor to Woodward but last night he was eager to show his support for Robinson.
"We should move on and support Andy," he said.
"Let's get behind Andy. Clive's made a decision, let's not look back let's look forwards.
"One thing I will say is that I think Andy will have a much better relationship with the Directors of Rugby than Clive did because he'll probably talk to us!"
Whether Robinson feels the need to contact Worcester coach Andy Keast any time soon is a moot point moot point n. 1) a legal question which no court has decided, so it is still debatable or unsettled. 2) an issue only of academic interest. (See: moot) as Andrew, for one, was not impressed by what he saw from the Premiership new boys.
"They did not ask us any serious questions," he said. "You cannot stay in the Premiership if all you are going to get is penalties.
"We played quite badly and we have won 30-9. I'm not sure what that says about Worcester."
ANDREW: Criticised Worcester; HANDLE IT: Wilkinson was very much in control on his return; BOOT-IFUL: Wilkinson was among the points at Worcester - and England fans will be hoping he'll be doing the business for his country in the very near future