x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

Wilkinson savours French fervour

The England fly-half got his first taste of French club rugby after kicking 17 points in Toulon's draw against Stade Francais in the Top 14 curtain-raiser.

Jonny Wilkinson said the atmosphere was incredible in the Stade Mayol for his Toulon Top 14 debut.
Jonny Wilkinson said the atmosphere was incredible in the Stade Mayol for his Toulon Top 14 debut.

Jonny Wilkinson savoured his first taste of French club rugby after kicking 17 points in Toulon's 22-22 draw against Stade Francais in the Top 14 curtain-raiser. The England fly-half scored four penalties, converted Thomas Sourice's first-half try and dropped a long-range goal in a solid debut for Toulon last night at the Stade Mayol. The Stade scrum-half Noel Oelschig's 77th-minute drop goal secured a share of the points for the visitors. But Wilkinson, who has been ravaged by injury problems over the past six years, was happy with how things went on a personal level. "I felt good physically and it was important for me to play 80 minutes," the 30-year-old told the French daily newspaper L'Equipe, www.lequipe.fr. "I scored 17 points, but the most important thing was that we didn't win. "The atmosphere was incredible. At one moment, I had just kicked a penalty and I asked myself what had happened in the stadium such was the noise. "I hope that there will be a lot more moments like this." Three other England internationals ? Tom May, James Haskell and Tom Palmer ? featured in last night's match. Stade's flanker Haskell received a yellow card late in the first half for cynically playing the ball on the ground at a ruck.

* PA Sport