Belfast Telegraph

Friday 26 December 2014

Wilkinson fit for Australia clash

Jonny Wilkinson
Jonny Wilkinson

Martin Johnson confirmed on Sunday that Australia's arch nemesis Jonny Wilkinson will be fit to tackle the Wallabies in Perth next Saturday.

Wilkinson has been training on his own since the squad arrived in Australia after suffering rib damage in Toulon's Amlin Challenge Cup final defeat to Cardiff Blues.

The initial medical advice from Toulon was that Wilkinson may not have been able to take contact until Thursday, which placed his Test chances in jeopardy. But Wilkinson has been cleared for a return to action 48 hours early - giving England's preparations a major boost as they chase only their third ever Test victory on Australian soil.

Wing David Strettle and prop Job Golding are also expected to be in contention for Test selection after making good progress from ankle and rib problems respectively.

"Jon Golding, Dave Strettle and Jonny will all resume full training this week," Johnson announced.

"They will run to a degree tomorrow (Monday) and will be back in full training by Tuesday - Jon probably by Wednesday or Thursday.

"They will all be fit by Saturday and if they are fit for full training, they are fit to go out and play."

Wilkinson played a key role in both England's triumphs Down Under - in June 2003 and then in the Rugby World Cup final five months later.

Now 31, Wilkinson is back in Australia on this five-match tour for the first time since landing that drop goal in Sydney seven years ago.

Despite his catalogue of injury problems and the patchy Six Nations form which cost him his place, Wilkinson retains an aura over the Wallabies which England will be anxious to play on.

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