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Last Updated: Saturday, 3 February 2007, 18:43 GMT
Wilkinson relief after comeback
Jonny Wilkinson catches a pass against Scotland
Wilkinson was playing his first Test since November 2003
Jonny Wilkinson expressed his relief after a stunningly successful comeback as he guided England to Six Nations victory over Scotland at Twickenham.

Wilkinson scored 27 points to beat Rob Andrew's Calcutta Cup record of 24.

"It was just good to get back on the field, and feel the whole atmosphere," he told BBC Sport. "It is what I live a lot of my life for.

"You earn your place and I was worried after being selected. But I just wanted to do a job and help the team win."

Wilkinson had missed England's last 30 Test matches through a series of injuries and illness, but he found his feet again with ludicrous ease after just 45 minutes' rugby in 12 weeks.

He is a huge asset for the team and the game; I just hope he stays in one piece

England captain Phil Vickery
"It means a huge amount to be here to be honest, and I have got a lot of people to pay back for the confidence they have shown in me," he said.

"I am just taking it game-by-game. Today has been quite a good day - to win and remain injury free. I have to repay this team for having me back and making me feel so comfortable.

"The Twickenham crowd were so loud and supportive. Running out to a full stadium like that always sends tingles down your spine, especially when you haven't heard it for a while."

England captain Phil Vickery paid tribute to his World Cup-winning colleague.

"He just gets better and better," Vickery said. "He has played 45 minutes of rugby leading up to this game and then he plays like that.

"He is a huge asset for the team and the game, and I just hope he stays in one piece."

Another returning World Cup winner, Jason Robinson, who marked his return to Test rugby with two tries, saluted Wilkinson's work ethic.

You have to wonder in awe at that performance

RFU elite boss Rob Andrew
"It is great to have him back," he said. "He is an oustanding player and has worked really hard through the week. He gets what he deserves."

Wilkinson's performance fully vindicated the decision of England head coach Brian Ashton to select the player despite his lack of match action.

"There was a lot of speculation about whether he should have played or not and ultimately he made the decision," Ashton said. "I think he proved he made the correct one."

606 DEBATE: Your reaction to England's victory

RFU elite rugby director Rob Andrew, Wilkinson's mentor during his time as Newcastle boss, admitted his protege exceeded his expectations.

"He knew he was ready and the people who know him knew he was ready," Andrew said.

"But even taking everything into account you still have to wonder in awe at that performance.

"I don't think even I thought he could be that good. He stepped onto the international field as if he had never been away."



SEE ALSO
Wilkinson: The Comeback King
04 Feb 07 |  Rugby Union
Pundits on England v Scotland
04 Feb 07 |  Rugby Union
Ashton praises 'best-ever' Ellis
03 Feb 07 |  Rugby Union
England 42-20 Scotland
03 Feb 07 |  Rugby Union
England v Scotland clockwatch
02 Feb 07 |  Rugby Union


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