Wilkinson eyes Heineken Cup quarter-finals

Jonny Wilkinson could kick Toulon into the Heineken Cup quarter-finals on Sunday and has called on his teammates, supporters and the French region to roar them to victory over two-time champions Munster.

Toulon have marked their debut in the tournament by topping Pool 3 with 13 points from four matches with three wins and one defeat.

That loss came in a 45-18 mauling at Munster, a defeat which has left England fly-half Wilkinson itching for revenge.

“Here in Toulon, the team isn’t only a group of players and staff, but also the entire area,” said the England fly-half.

“When we play at our Stade Mayol, I get the impression from time to time our opponents play against us and everyone in the area. This makes my experience in Toulon unique.”

Toulon have a two-point lead over Munster with Ospreys a point further back and London Irish propping up the pool with five points. Only the group winners are assured of a place in the last eight.

The 31-year-old Wilkinson has been a revelation at Toulon, scoring 302 points in his first season.

With 205 points in this campaign (two tries, 41 penalties, 14 drop goals and 15 conversions), he is again topping the French Top 14 scoring charts.

His team also rely on him when their major rivals come to town.

He scored 23 of Toulon’s 28 points against champions Clermont, all 15 points in the clash with Stade Francais and 19 out of 29 against Montpellier.

“I give everything I have and like to set an example to the players who are playing alongside me,” said Wilkinson, who recently saw All Black Dan Carter succeed him as international rugby’s top points scorer.

“Against Munster, we know that we can achieve something special by beating a team who have many top-level players. It’s great to be part of such an event.

“We are really excited about this game. It’s why you play rugby for matches like these.”

Referring to the earlier Munster mauling, Wilkinson said: “That was a good lesson. Even at 30 years old I learnt something that day. We faced a team with strength which was difficult to master and to stop. It was really impressive.”

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