Sunday 20 May 2018

Wilkinson signs new deal

JONNY WILKINSON has ignored the Rugby Football Union's new diktat about not picking foreign-based players by penning a two-year extension to his contract at Toulon.

The English union have stated that their intention is to only pick home-based players from 2011, but now face an early test of their resolve as their former golden boy and star out-half will remain in France.

The 2003 World Cup winner has enjoyed something of a renaissance with Toulon, and could put an end to Munster's Heineken Cup ambitions when the sides meet next month.

He scored 302 points in his first season with the newly promoted side as they reached the Top 14 semi-final, and was voted best overseas player in France last month. The RFU have left the door ajar for players of the 31-year-old's calibre, with an "exceptional circumstances" clause inserted in their new policy.

The stance is designed to develop English players ahead of the 2015 World Cup, which will be held in England. While Wilkinson will be 36 at that stage, there is little doubt that he would be of use to the national set-up for a number of years, and his selection will be watched closely by other players contemplating a move abroad.

Irish Independent

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