Bates plays it cool on Wilkinson’s comeback

Newcastle director of rugby Steve Bates has given nothing away about Jonny Wilkinson’s return following Newcastle Falcons loss to London Wasps on the weekend.

Newcastle Falcons winning streak came to an end on Sunday when they traveled to London Wasps and lost 12-6 largely thanks to the boot of Danny Cipriani who dislodged Wilkinson from his England starting berth last year in the Six Nations.

Wilkinson is expected to to return for Newcastle Falcons play off date in the European Challenge Cup as he was included in the latest official squads that were released last week.

Bates however is not prepared to give a date for Wilkinson’s return.

“We’ll have to see how it goes this week,” he told BBC Radio Newcastle.

“(Wilkinson was) closer this week, we’ll just have to see how he reacts to training during the next week.”

Newcastle Falcons had suffered a dip in form following Wilkinson’s injury against Gloucester in September 2008 but they have bounced back an currently occupy 10th place in the Premiership.

Bates added that he was disappointed to come away from Sunday’s match against with a win with just a bonus point after a spirited second-half display.

“I’m disappointed we didn’t win, we had a couple of opportunities and the boys were pretty sure we scored over in the corner,” he said.

“They had plenty of energy in the tank in the first half while we looked sluggish after travelling.

“But in the second we came back at them really well.”

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