Jonny Wilkinson gives drop goal advice to England’s kickers
Hero of 2003 final dropped into training to speak to Owen Farrell ahead of South Africa
England captain Owen Farrell drop kicks the ball whilst England 2003 hero Jonny Wilkinson looks on during a training session ahead of the Rugby World Cup final. Photo: Stu Forster/Getty Images
Jonny Wilkinson joined the England camp to deliver a drop-goal clinic on the eve of their World Cup final against South Africa. Wilkinson’s unforgettable drop-goal in the 2003 final against Eddie Jones’s Australia sealed England’s only World Cup title and the former outhalf dropped in to give some tips to Owen Farrell and co on Friday.
Wilkinson was seen running kicking drills with members of the squad after their captain’s run, while Eddie Jones conducted a training session for local school children in Tokyo. Wilkinson often joins England for sessions when they are based in Bagshot and, while in Japan primarily working as a pundit, he reprised his ad hoc role while Jones’s men were finalising preparations for their first World Cup final in 12 years.
Jones has often asked a variety of sporting personalities to address the England squad in the past, but he revealed he would not be doing so this week. Wilkinson’s presence in the camp is a timely bit of inspiration for England however, after his kick in 2003 sealed the 20-17 victory in extra-time.
Farrell suffered a dead leg against New Zealand last week but has recovered to take his place in the side and Jones confirmed on Thursday that his captain was fit enough to retake goalkicking duties, having temporarily handed over to George Ford against the All Blacks.
Meanwhile, Prince Harry has sent a good luck message to the England squad before Saturday’s final. Buckingham Palace has confirmed that the Duke of Sussex will be in attendance for the match. He is a longstanding England supporter and is also a patron of the Rugby Football Union.
When asked if he had received support from the Royal Family, flanker Sam Underhill said: “Not personally! But as a group we’ve had a couple of messages from Prince Harry. He sent us a nice message of support, which was nice to receive. He showed his little lad in an England shirt, so that was a nice touch. I’m still waiting on my personal message!” – Guardian