/ Rugby

Wilkinson turned down place on Lions tour

Updated: Tuesday, 30 Apr 2013 17:53 | Comments

Jonny Wilkinson told Warren Gatland he was committed to Toulon and would not be able to travel
Jonny Wilkinson told Warren Gatland he was committed to Toulon and would not be able to travel

Jonny Wilkinson ruled himself out of the British and Irish Lions tour of Australia but could yet feature as an injury replacement, coach Warren Gatland said on Tuesday.

Wilkinson's impressive display in kicking all Toulon's points in their 24-12 victory Saracens in Sunday's Heineken Cup semi-final launched widespread speculation that he would be called up for a third Lions tour but Gatland named Owen Farrell and Jonathan Sexton as his only two out-halfs.

"He wasn't available," Gatland told reporters.

"He said he really appreciated the call but that he was committed to Toulon and would not be able to travel with the squad."

The French Top 14 final takes place on the same day as the Lions play the Barbarians in Hong Kong in their opening game on June 1 and Wilkinson's Toulon team are likely to be involved.

His Toulon team mate Gethin Jenkins did make the Lions squad but he was cleared by the club, for whom he is not first choice.

Asked if he had contacted Wilkinson to include him in the squad, Gatland said: "I wouldn't have made the call otherwise. But we wanted the whole squad to be able to play in Hong Kong and he couldn't make that commitment.

"He said he was struggling with his body and managing things week to week and I think he'd struggle to get through a seven-week tour."

Gatland said, however, that Wilkinson, who turns 34 next month, could still play a part as a potential injury replacement.

User contributions and/or comments do not, unless specifically stated, represent the views of RTÉ.ie or RTÉ.
Click here for Terms of use
Powered by NewsWhip