England coach Martin Johnson is hopeful comebacks by fly-half Jonny Wilkinson and hooker Steve Thompson will guide an injury-wrecked Red Rose to victory over Australia in the first of their autumn Tests on Saturday.
Jonny Wilkinson insists he can cope with the huge expectation weighing on his shoulders as he makes his much-hyped return to the England squad for the November internationals.
The 30-year-old fly-half's last appearance in an England shirt dates back to March 2008. He has since been struck down with a dislocated kneecap, the latest in a string of setbacks to have blighted his career since kicking his country to World Cup glory in 2003.
Now fully fit and in great form for Toulon, the southern French club he joined in the pre-season, Wilkinson is back in the England fold and will be a certain starter against Australia on Saturday in the first of three November Tests.
The former Newcastle Falcons star is still regarded by fans as indispensable if England are to regain their status as world-beaters in the run-up to the 2011 World Cup.
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"I'm going to make sure I'm raring to go, I'm prepared as I can ever be and I don't leave anything back," said the England fly-half.
It is ironic that while England are experiencing one of their worst injury crises of recent times - they currently have almost a full team of possible starters on the sidelines - Wilkinson is arguably in the shape of his life.
Date created : 2009-11-05