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Wilkinson can still be a hero for Lions: Hastings

Former British and Irish Lions captain Gavin Hastings expects to see Jonny Wilkinson in the fabled red jersey on this summer's tour to Australia.

World Cup-winning former England fly-half Wilkinson has been in imperious form with new European champions Toulon – starring in their win over Clermont at the Aviva on Saturday – but declined an initial approach from Lions head coach Warren Gatland, citing club commitments and his weary body.

Yet Wilkinson remains on standby and with just two number 10s in the 37-man squad – Ireland's Jonathan Sexton and England's Owen Farrell – Hastings anticipates the 33-year-old former Newcastle fly-half will be a late arrival in Australia in time for the first Test in Brisbane on June 22.

"I think it's likely to happen," said Hastings.

"If Sexton and Farrell can do well and they play well and they're able to keep fit, perhaps the prospect of Jonny coming out will recede.

"The shorter the time that Jonny has in Australia, the better, I think, the chances are for the Lions.

"The longer he spends there, I'm not convinced his body will want to be training every single day.

"The way he is, so intense and thorough in his preparation, he doesn't need to play in any provincial matches.

"What matters is the Lions winning two out of three Tests. If ever there was an occasion made for Jonny, it would be coming out the week before the first Test and having a role to play."

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