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Australia coach wary of Wilkinson

Jonny Wilkinson
Wilkinson has endured an injury ravaged six years

Australia say they are wary of the effect Jonny Wilkinson could have if he returns to the England side for their clash at Twickenham on 7 November.

Toulon fly-half Wilkinson is set to be recalled to the team for the first time since March 2008.

"I don't imagine he'll have changed much as a player," admitted Australia coach Robbie Deans.

"We believe England will be more dangerous with Jonny there. He'll bring a lot of shape to their game."

Deans added: "His influence on his peers will be valuable in terms of the confidence he'll bring to them.

"We expect to meet England at their best - and know that Jonny will contribute to that."

Wilkinson has been plagued by injuries since his drop goal against Australia won the World Cup for England in 2003.


But having moved from Newcastle to France this season, the 30-year-old has been reinvigorated by the new challenge.

His return will be welcomed by England supporters who have had little to cheer about since the triumph against Australia in Sydney six years ago, and Deans believes the former Newcastle player can handle the weight of expectation that will surround his comeback.

"I think probably the most critical element is the introduction of Jonny, because that has brought a lot more certainty around the English," said Deans, whose own side who have won only one of their last six matches.

"I don't think that expectation will be a big deal for Jonny. He's very experienced - it's not as though he's just arrived on the scene.

"Of course, there will be a lot of expectation on him to play at the same standard that he's renowned for.

"He essentially won England the World Cup, so inevitably there will be a lot of expectation."

England also face Argentina and New Zealand in their autumn series this month.

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see also
Wilkinson 'better than in 2003'
24 Oct 09 |  Rugby Union
England pick Wilkinson & Thompson
04 Nov 09 |  Rugby Union
Shaw boost for injury-hit England
28 Oct 09 |  Rugby Union
England release trio for weekend
28 Oct 09 |  Rugby Union
Injury-hit England make changes
26 Oct 09 |  Rugby Union
Waldouck ruled out for four weeks
27 Oct 09 |  London Wasps
Vickery joins England casualties
20 Oct 09 |  English

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