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Wilkinson set for Twickenham bow

Jonny Wilkinson could be making his final appearance for England at Twickenham in Saturday's Rugby World Cup warm-up international against Wales.

Unless the Rugby Football Union loosen their own regulations, Wilkinson will not be ineligible for England selection after the tournament because he has signed a new deal with French club Toulon, and England want to restrict call-ups to home-based players.

"It's a tough one," said Wilkinson, when asked whether he had considered this could be his Twickenham farewell. "It has been an incredible part of my life to date. To have been on that field so many times and have experienced all the highs and lows has been amazing."

He added: "The thought of not having it any more is not one I wish to consider. It is a difficult situation. You don't want to deal with that kind of emotion."

Wilkinson, who is preparing for his fourth World Cup, remains hopeful that an agreement could be struck with the RFU that designates him a special case.

"I don't like this idea of restriction. I always want to have that open-ended feel to my career. I always like to keep doors open and if I can keep improving, I will keep doing that until someone shuts that door," said Wilkinson.

"If I am playing in a way where people feel I need to be involved then great - if not, I will just be doing it for Toulon."

Wilkinson has been the darling of the Twickenham crowd since making his debut off the bench, as a makeshift wing, against Ireland way back in 1998.

The 32-year-old has been reduced to bench duty again over the last year after losing his place to Toby Flood at the end of the 2010 Six Nations. But Wilkinson, who is still the fittest member of the England squad, will get his chance on Saturday to once again start in the 10 jersey he has coveted for so long.

It will be Wilkinson's 42nd Test appearance at HQ and his 91st in total, including six for the British and Irish Lions.


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