Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 13 July 2014

Wilkinson and Flood in shoot-out

Jonny Wilkinson

Jonny Wilkinson and Toby Flood will hold a penalty shoot-out behind closed doors at Eden Park to decide who will kick for England in the Rugby World Cup quarter-final against France.

Wilkinson is only six points short of Dan Carter's world record total of 1250 but he has missed 11 of his 20 shots at goal during the World Cup, the worst record in the tournament and Flood, by contrast, has landed 10 from 13.

"Going into a game like this, I don't think you'd want to be playing against Jonny Wilkinson," said England manager Martin Johnson.

Nevertheless, Wilkinson's success rate has dropped from 81% to a mere mortal 70% since he spent three years out with injury.

France have enjoyed the best success rate from in front of the sticks at the World Cup, with Morgan Parra and Dimitri Yachvili landing 22 from 26 between them.

England's is a lowly 58% and Wilkinson insisted he would have no problem handing over the kicking duties if it was for the good of the team.

"Toby and I will both be preparing as hard as we can and we'll probably make that decision after we've been to the stadium," said Wilkinson.

"It's safe to say Toby has knocked some great kicks over already, he's looking good and he's in fine form. We'll see how he's preparing and I'm preparing.

"I'm always confident. I'm never afraid to take them. There have been two kicks in this tournament I wouldn't mind taking back but the rest I've been happy with.

"It's important that whatever decision we make is for the team."

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