Wilkinson ready to believe

Jonny Wilkinson believes England must forget about their post-2003 World Cup woes if they are to have any hope of defending their title in France.

The world champions have been on a downward spiral since that victorious night in Sydney four years ago, when Wilkinson kicked the crucial winning drop goal.

They have failed to win the Six Nations title in the past four seasons and have lost heavily to the powerhouse nations.

England will come up against South Africa, Samoa, Tonga and the United States in their World Cup pool matches this September, with Australia possible quarter-final opponents.

Former captain Lawrence Dallaglio has been recalled to the squad by coach Brian Ashton, despite concerns over both his form and fitness, in a bid to add some experience to the party.

Wilkinson, 28, firmly believes that, despite recent tough times, the current side have the ability to find their form when it matters.

“You have an enormous amount of self-belief and you never let that brim over into anything but pure confidence in what you are doing and what you are able to do if you get it right on the day,” he said.

“The concept of even thinking about losing any games has always been something I have never been able to compute.

“So, going into this World Cup now, it is really a case of understanding that we need to be undoubtedly at our very best on the match day – and especially along the way on three or four big match days in order to succeed to the level we want to win this.

“You do not sit here now and think ‘is this going to be too much?’, you just think ‘right, we have not had the run of results we had four years ago where we went in with an unbeaten record and were able to take the momentum in’.

“So, in exchange of that momentum, we are going to have to find an extreme togetherness and a positivity that is going to allow the best to come out of everyone under big pressure.”

“It is a different way of approaching it because the conditions are different, because of what has happened over the last four years.

“But, as a professional sportsman going into the biggest tournament in that sport, you just understand that it is a personal responsibility that I will do everything in my power to be there at that level and help the rest of my team-mates be at that level come the first day of that tournament.

“We have got three months to do it and a good group of guys to do it.”


365 Digital

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