Wilkinson like fine wine just gets better : Booth

Jonny Wilkinson has been praised from both sides after his Toulon team beat London Irish in the Heineken Cup over the weekend at the Madejski Stadium.

London Irish Boss Toby Booth praised Wilkinson for his defence and for his kicking after he scored 14 of Toulon’s 19 points.

The result means that London Irish have to beat Toulon this weekend in the return match if they want to keep their hopes of reaching the Quarter finals alive.

“He didn’t look on the decline to me,” said Booth of Wilkinson who is England’s second choice flyhalf but missed the Autumn Internationals through injury.

“In a tight game, they have a 100 per cent kicker and we don’t. That is the nature of it.”

Booth continued: “He stopped George Stowers at full bore 10 metres from the line, and (he did the same to) Seilala Mapasua.

“He is probably like fine wine – he is actually getting better.”

Toulon captain Joe Van Niekerk paid further praise for Wilkinson and went as far as calling the 2003 world cup winner a genius.

“(Wilkinson) is a genius. He is constantly kicking three points and keeping the scoreboard ticking.

“What more do you want from a 10 who keeps it rolling, puts pressure on opposition and we can build from the back of it from there.”

London Irish are currently in a slump of form having lost their last six games in all competitions but coach Booth is not panicking and says his players will relish next weekend’s opportunity at Stade Felix-Mayol.

“London Irish don’t like doing things the easy way,” he told the Press Association.

“Leinster away last year, no-one gave us a chance (Irish won 12-9).”

“This is a ready-made opportunity to go and upset the apple cart.”

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