Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 25 December 2014

Wilko impressed by England fly-halves

Jonny Wilkinson believes England have good options at fly-half
Jonny Wilkinson believes England have good options at fly-half

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

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.

"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," said Wilkinson. "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 - there's loads to be taken from it," he added. "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 put 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."

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