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Wilkinson's challenge.

Rugby World Cup hero Jonny Wilkinson has been saying for three weeks that he "intends to get back to normal".

Few believed that would be possible after the impact he and the rest of the team have made on the country.

But, there he was yesterday - alone on a windswept field - still honing the skills which shot him to stardom.

The adulation of 750,000 adoring fans, a car crash and receiving an MBE from the Queen were put behind him as he prepared for his first match at Kingston Park since England's victory over Australia.

His dedication to his chosen sport is verging on the incredible.

For Saturday's game against Spanish side Valladolid in the European Challenge Cup, Wilkinson is obviously determined to be at his best in front of his home fans.

It matters not whether the opposition are the formidable Australians in a World Cup final or the rather less exalted Spanish club side.

Practice makes perfect - even when you are already as close to it as makes little difference.

What a role model he has proved to be for young players.
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Publication:The Journal (Newcastle, England)
Date:Dec 12, 2003
Words:185
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