Heineken Cup: Jonny Wilkinson thrilled to help Toulon reach the final
Last Updated: 28/04/13 7:18pm
Jonny Wilkinson is mobbed by team-mates after scoring a crucial drop-goal
Toulon fly-half Jonny Wilkinson was understandably delighted after kicking all of his side's points as they beat Saracens 24-12 at Twickenham to secure their place in the Heineken Cup final.
The England international enjoyed a 100% success rate, slotting over seven penalties and a late drop-goal that broke Sarries' resolve, but Wilkinson was keen to pay tribute to the English side.
"It was great to come out on top against a team like Saracens, it's a big thing for us," he said.
"It didn't go fantastically well for us and we didn't do some of the things we wanted to do.
"But it was all about fighting hard until the last minute and hanging on. Spirit and determination got us there."
One intriguing moment in the contest came six minutes from time when Wilkinson stabbed over his drop-goal as Farrell clattered into him, with the two sharing friendly words afterwards.
"When Owen tackled me, he said 'I didn't go through' and I said 'I'm really sorry, I didn't deserve that, it was down to luck'," added Wilkinson.
"He played brilliantly and didn't deserve that."
The British and Irish Lions squad to tour Australia is announced on Tuesday and the pressure is mounting on head coach Warren Gatland to find a place for Wilkinson on the plane, despite his insistence on not selecting French-based players.
Wilkinson himself remained modest about his chances of inclusion, insisting there are others who might be more likely to get the nod.
"The Lions is difficult for me because it's not at all that I wouldn't consider it - it would be fabulous. It's up there with the most amazing experiences you can get in rugby."
"The Lions is difficult for me because it's not at all that I wouldn't consider it - it would be fabulous. It's up there with the most amazing experiences you can get in rugby," he added.
"There's young players like Owen Farrell and Toby Flood for England, Dan Biggar for Wales and Ireland's Jonny Sexton, who are taking rugby forward and it's their era.
"I want those guys to experience that because they deserve it. I'm digging my fingernails in and hanging on really."
Toulon head coach Bernard Laporte was happy to praise Wilkinson though after his skipper turned in a man-of-the-match performance.
"Jonny was huge today," he said. "Great players win great matches and today that was the case.
"Our English players were extremely good and wanted to show in their homeland that they are not finished. Jonny is a great player and has been for a long time.
"Clermont are a benchmark - they are excellent. But I don't think we are particularly bad and we look forward to playing them in the final."