Wilkinson: It’s about the team

Mon, 09 Dec 2013 18:25
Large jonny wilkinson   matthew g Large wilko kicks630 Large jonny wilkinson toulon

Jonny Wilkinson admitted he gave up the kicking duties in Toulon's European Cup win over Exeter Chiefs on Saturday to avoid being selfish.

Jonny Wilkinson admitted he gave up the kicking duties in Toulon's European Cup win over Exeter Chiefs on Saturday to avoid being selfish.

The England international was below-par with the boot, kicking just one of five attempts between the posts, before handing over the tee to Australia's Matt Giteau with his side trailing 8-9 at Sandy Park.

Giteau then fired the defending champions ahead with a 66th minute penalty, prompting the Exeter fans to chant, 'We want Jonny!'

Wilkinson regained his composure to seal the Pool Two victory with a trademark drop-goal with six minutes left to put Toulon top of the group, one point above Cardiff Blues.

"I thought it was a good decision [to hand over the kicking duties]. I prepared well last week and I felt fabulous coming into the game. But I just didn't have it," admitted Wilkinson.

"The decision to carry on would have been totally selfish and if I had done it would have been just for me to get or recoup something out of it for myself. There's no point.

"I'm playing in a team alongside guys like Matt Giteau so you think, 'These guys are itching to get involved.' It's not my place to do that anymore. It's not about me, it's about the team and Matt did a great job for us - I felt better with him there than me."

After seeing his usually ultra-reliable goal kicker miss with four attempts, Toulon coach Bernard Laporte was comfortable with the decision to switch to Giteau.

"It was Jonny's decision. He is not a robot, he is a man like you and me. He missed a few kicks from far out, but there was only one from close range," said Laporte.

Wilkinson knows that the home comforts provided by Stade Felix Mayol for the return leg this weekend should make life easier for both his goal-kicking and his side, but the England veteran confessed to being mightily impressed by the Chiefs.

"We know we have to prepare damn well to play against them. We've seen first-hand what they are capable of and if the rub of the green had been slightly different, we know we would have been in a very different situation right now.

"Right now we'll take each game as it comes, but these guys will be incredibly tough next week. Then whoever they face after that, it's impossible to say who is going to qualify from this group.

"It's do or die every game, and it reminds me somewhat of the Rugby World Cup in 2007 when we came off the loss to South Africa and suddenly you find yourselves backs to the wall in every game. It doesn't matter how well you get out of that next one, you are still in the same position, and it's a stressful place to be.

"Obviously we lost to Cardiff last time and that put us in that position, but at the same time it does something for you and if you are able to use that pressure; turn it into positive motivation and work together, then you grow as a team."

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FIXTURE GMT VENUE
Fri, 15 December 2017
Ulster v Harlequins 19h45 Kingspan Stadium
Sat, 16 December 2017
Montpellier v Glasgow Warriors 13h00 Altrad Stadium
Treviso v Scarlets 13h00 Stadio Comunale di Monigo
Leinster v Exeter Chiefs 15h15 Aviva Stadium
Racing Metro v Castres 15h15 Stade Yves-du-Manoir
Bath v Toulon 17h30 Recreation Ground
Sun, 17 December 2017
Wasps v La Rochelle 13h00 Ricoh Arena
Clermont Auvergne v Saracens 15h15 Stade Marcel-Michelin
Ospreys v Northampton Saints 15h15 Liberty Stadium
Leicester Tigers v Munster 17h30 Welford Road
RESULT SCORE
Mon, 11 December 2017
Saracens v Clermont Auvergne 14 | 46
Sun, 10 December 2017
Exeter Chiefs v Leinster 8 | 18
Harlequins v Ulster 5 | 17
La Rochelle v Wasps 49 | 29
Sat, 09 December 2017
Munster v Leicester Tigers 33 | 10
Castres v Racing Metro 16 | 13
Northampton Saints v Ospreys 32 | 43
Toulon v Bath 24 | 20
Scarlets v Treviso 33 | 28
Fri, 08 December 2017
Glasgow Warriors v Montpellier 22 | 29
Sun, 03 December 2017
Harlequins v Saracens 20 | 19
Sat, 02 December 2017
Cheetahs v Scarlets 28 | 21
Munster v Ospreys 36 | 10
Wasps v Leicester Tigers 32 | 25
Treviso v Leinster 10 | 36
EUROPEAN CUP
MORE LOGS
Pool 1
Team P W D L Pts
La Rochelle 3 3 0 0 15
Ulster 3 1 0 2 8
Wasps 3 1 0 2 6
Harlequins 3 0 0 3 1
Pool 2
Team P W D L Pts
Clermont Auvergne 3 3 0 0 14
Saracens 3 2 0 1 10
Ospreys 3 1 0 2 8
Northampton Saints 3 0 0 3 1
Pool 3
Team P W D L Pts
Leinster 3 3 0 0 14
Exeter Chiefs 3 2 0 1 8
Montpellier 3 1 0 2 8
Glasgow Warriors 3 0 0 3 1
Pool 4
Team P W D L Pts
Munster 3 2 1 0 11
Castres 3 1 1 1 7
Leicester Tigers 3 1 0 2 6
Racing Metro 3 1 0 2 6
Pool 5
Team P W D L Pts
Toulon 3 3 0 0 12
Bath 3 2 0 1 9
Scarlets 3 1 0 2 7
Treviso 3 0 0 3 3