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Last Updated: Monday, 4 July, 2005, 12:22 GMT 13:22 UK
Wilkinson hopeful for Test place
Jonny Wilkinson is helped off the field during the second Test
Jonny Wilkinson is not ruling out playing for the Lions in the third Test against the All Blacks in Auckland.

Wilkinson injured his neck and shoulder in the Lions' 48-18 defeat on Saturday, but a Lions spokeswoman said his condition was improving with treatment.

"As much as it's bad to say I'm used to these, it's also true that I'm used to recovering from them," Wilkinson wrote in The Times newspaper.

"I've not ruled anything out. I'll get advice from the physio."

Wilkinson suffered two "stingers" - a nerve problem associated with shoulder and neck injuries which sends a sharp burning pain down the arm.

Had it been my right arm, I really would be concerned
Jonny Wilkinson

But he added: "The reason the injury is not as worrying as it might have been is because the stinger...went down my left arm.

"Had it been my right arm, the side that I injured so badly 18 months ago that I needed surgery, I really would be concerned.

"When I woke yesterday (Sunday) morning, I felt better than I thought I would because after the match I was unable to move much at all.

"So the injury has improved with time."

Lions coach Sir Clive Woodward insisted after the second Test that Wilkinson was unlikely to play any further part in the tour.

"In my mind, I'm not going to play him in the next Test match," the Lions coach told BBC Sport.

"We've lost the series and we've now got to look at playing either Stephen Jones or Charlie Hodgson next weekend."

Wilkinson had to come off during Saturday's game after attempting to tackle Dan Carter.

If you want to win a Test series, you wrap your 22 in cotton wool and leave them in Melbourne
Sir Clive Woodward
It had been thought initially that the England man would be fit for next week's third Test.

He has struggled with "stingers" since before England's World Cup win in November 2003

Wilkinson had an operation to try to relieve the nerve damage, but it looks to have flared up once again.

Lions assistant coach Ian McGeechan had earlier said that Wilkinson's chances of appearing next weekend were not promising.

"He had taken a couple of stingers which took a while to settle down," McGeechan told BBC Radio Five Live's Sportsweek programme.

"It's less than a 50-50 chance that he'll be fit for the weekend. The medical staff are monitoring him very carefully at the moment."

British and Irish Lions coach Sir Clive Woodward
Woodward has struggled with the "concept" of the Lions tour
Meanwhile, Woodward admitted there would be fewer changes for next weekend's game as the team tries to bounce back from losing the series.

"It was a great Test match, but it's about winning and we're very disappointed not to have won," he said in a candid interview on BBC One on Sunday.

"We had our chances but I think you've got to realise we were playing against a very good team here.

"And we had to be absolutely at our best to win that Test match and we weren't quite there. There will be changes from the Test team, but certainly not 11."

Interview: Lions head coach Sir Clive Woodward

Interview: Sportsweek speaks to Lions coach Ian McGeechan



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