x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 28 July 2017

Wilkinson hoping for a special exemption from Rugby Football Union

Jonny Wilkinson could be making his final appearance for England, unless the Rugby Football Union loosens their regulations.

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 regulations, Wilkinson will not be eligible for England selection after the tournament because he has signed a new deal with the French club, Toulon, and England want to restrict call-ups to home-based players.

"It's a tough one," said Wilkinson, when asked if 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.

"The thought of not having it any more is not one I wish to consider. It is a difficult situation."

Wilkinson, who is preparing for his fourth World Cup, remains hopeful that an agreement could be struck with the union 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," he said.

"I always like to keep doors open and if I can keep improving, I will keep doing that until someone shuts that door."

Wilkinson has been the darling of the Twickenham crowd since his debut off the bench as a makeshift wing against Ireland 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 will today get his chance to start once again in the 10 jersey.

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