sport

Wilko impressed by fly-halves

Jonny Wilkinson believes his old England number 10 jersey is in good hands for the foreseeable future.

The former Newcastle favourite, who was involved in a duel of former England fly-halves with Danny Cipriani as he helped Toulon to a 17-6 Heineken Cup victory over Sale today, no longer holds any ambition to win back his international spot and admits England do not need him any more.

Owen Farrell was handed the number 10 shirt following injury to Toby Flood and, along with Freddie Burns, helped England to their record 38-21 victory over New Zealand a week ago, pushing both Wilkinson and Cipriani further down the pecking order.

"I'm not really in for the number 10 jersey but, if you put the other four guys in that bracket - and more because there are other guys around that are coming through - then it (the number 10 jersey) is in good health," said Wilkinson, speaking after leading his French club to their third straight Pool Six win at the Salford City Stadium.

"The key is to continue what they are doing, which is a relentless pursuit of precision of execution and consistency, and the guys do that fabulously, which is why they're not throw-away names now.

"You've got guys who are stepping up. They are pushing each other. Whoever has that jersey has got it because they have had to push their level above what the other guys are doing."

Wilkinson, who watched England's win over the world champions on television, believes it could prove to be a significant turning point for Stuart Lancaster's men.

"I thought it was fantastic," he added. "There's loads to be taken from it.

"There is a big feet-on-the-ground issue as well but there is no doubt we deserved to win that game against a very, very good side.

"It may just be the biggest turning point and the most influential moment of the last five years."

Wilkinson insists he was not surprised by England's demolition of the All Blacks, who had put together a 20-match unbeaten run going into the Twickenham clash.

"It starts with ruthless defence and ruthless attacking of the breakdown," he said. "I thought the defence was uncompromising. They came out and push the pressure on and didn't miss a trick.

"The way they attacked the New Zealand ball was exceptional. They gave New Zealand a difficult time to search for options and to try to make plays and, when that happens, teams get tired and make mistakes.

"The foundation for it was incredible, which is why it's so exciting. It's repeatable.

"It's something the guys can do because it's stuff you can work on. It's an attitude - something you have control of, to a huge degree.

"That's why it's so exciting because, if we can start putting that into the next game as a given, then we can start building up for the next one and we'll be even harder to beat."