Jonny Wilkinson gets backing from Toulon team-mates to extend career

Last Updated: 30/03/13 2:05pm

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Jonny Wilkinson says he consulted Toulon team-mates Matt Giteau and Frederic Michalak before deciding to extend his career for a further year.

The 33-year-old England World Cup winner spent the winter considering whether to retire after suffering from a long-standing groin problem.

However, following the success of a recent operation and the positive reaction from his team-mates he has opted to play on for another campaign.

"These are guys who play inside and outside me and both play in my position too, so there is no better position to have to see if they think I am doing a good job," Wilkinson told the Times.

"I also wanted to know where they see their futures. Am I in the way of their future? Am I helping their future? Do they feel comfortable playing alongside me? I was more than willing to hear.

"These are guys for whom I have such great respect, guys from whom you want to hear the negative stuff.

Honest

"But they were really honest and I got the impression that they wanted me there."

On the subject of his operation, Wilkinson said: "I didn't know if it was going to work, but it has given me the ability to go out and work hard, to recover and go again."

Wilkinson retired from the international game just over a year ago but his name continues to be linked with the British and Irish Lions squad to tour Australia.

While refusing to rule himself out of contention, he admits he has had no contact with head coach Warren Gatland and considers himself a left-field selection.

"The Lions is so exciting," he added. "I would certainly welcome the opportunity, though I'm not sure why my name would be mentioned.

"I'm not thinking, 'I'm in with a shout'. The young guys in international rugby are the ones taking the sport forward."

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