No special treatment for Jonny

On Monday afternoon, just after it was announced that Jonny Wilkinson would start for England in this Saturday’s Calcutta Cup match at Twickenham, the first thing that jumped into every red-blooded Scotsman’s mind was: “Who will get him first?”

As Scotland’s open-side flanker, Kelly Brown must be most peoples’ favourite to administer that rather unfriendly welcome home tackle at some point during the opening stages of Wilkinson’s long-awaited return to the international scene.

But Brown insists that Wilkinson – who kicked the drop goal which won England the World Cup in 2003 – will receive exactly the same treatment as any other white-shirted player who crosses his path on Saturday afternoon.

“After the first scrum I’ll definitely fly up on him and try to get him man-and-ball, but I would do that regardless of who I was playing against. This is international rugby and he deserves no more special attention than anyone else because of who he is. Any player would get the same treatment,” said the 24-year-old Scottish Borders player.

“Just because he has had injuries in the past doesn’t mean I am going to give him special treatment this weekend – that’s just not my style.

“So, if I get a chance to smash him, then I will – but I’m not specifically going out there to target doing that.

“I don’t try to play differently depending on who the opposition is. I just play what is in front of me.

“If I get the chance I’ll take it, but I’m not going out there to specifically target him – I would be exactly the same if I was playing Wales or Ireland or whoever.

“He’s such a good pro that you know he’s going to be fully fit – it’s as simple as that. The injuries he has picked up have all been different, so there is nothing chronic there.”

There has been a lot of discussion this week about the potential for both glory and destruction created by the presence of Wilkinson and rugby league convert Andy Farrell in the English midfield on Saturday.

As Scotland’s chief spoiler, it is up to Brown to unsettle these two world-class players, who have been thrown back into the deep end of international sport after a long time stuck in the wings because of injury and he is happy to accept the challenge headlong.

“Farrell has not played a lot of rugby union yet, but he is obviously a great rugby player; and Wilkinson has not played in a while either; so we really need to get stuck in to them,” he said. “But we also need to get stuck into all of the rest of the team in the first 20 minutes too.

“We’re definitely going to try to put massive pressure on both Wilkinson and Farrell, because if we make a good start then we’ll put some really major doubts in their mind.”

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