"Why he's thought of as good, not great" - 4 England internationals who 'failed' with the Lions - Page 4 of 4 - Ruck

“Why he’s thought of as good, not great” – 4 England internationals who ‘failed’ with the Lions

#1. Jonny Wilkinson (England) – 2001

  • Major teams British and Irish Lions, Newcastle Falcons, Toulon, England
  • Position Fly-half
  • Caps 6

The second test against Australia, on 7 July, saw the Lions lose 35–14 at the Docklands Stadium.

Wilkinson was blamed by many for throwing a long pass inside his 22 that was intercepted by Joe Roff: which was seen as not only the turning point in the match, but the test series.

Four years later, he started all three tests for the tourists as Sir Clive Woodward’s side was heavily beaten 3-0 by the All Blacks before missing the 2009 tour to South Africa due to injury.

In 2013, Gatland revealed the World Cup-winner turned down the chance to tour Australia with Wilkinson informing the Kiwi coach he was not physically up to the task and would not be available for the start of the tour due to club commitments with Toulon.

A standout Lions tour is truly the only thing missing from Wilkinson’s incredible CV, which included multiple Six Nations, Champions Cups, Premiership and the Rugby World Cup.

DID YOU KNOW? He gained a place at the University of Durham, but gave his place up in 1997 to become a professional rugby union player with the Newcastle Falcons


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