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Last Updated: Thursday, 6 September 2007, 07:28 GMT 08:28 UK
Wilkinson hopeful of quick return
Jonny Wilkinson
Wilkinson is treated after injuring his ankle in training
Fly-half Jonny Wilkinson remains upbeat over his chances of playing in England's crunch World Cup pool game against South Africa on 14 September.

The 28-year-old has already been ruled out of England's World Cup opener against the USA in Lens on Saturday after twisting his ankle.

"We have to wait to let it settle and recover, but it is not a long-term injury," he told the Times newspaper.

"I am looking at the South Africa match as a game that I am hoping to play in."

He added: "In order for me to play against South Africa, at some point in the middle of next week I need to be working and running on the ankle properly.

"I am hugely positive mentally about that, especially given how quickly the ankle has settled down.

"It is a typical professional rugby injury - a bit of bad luck, you deal with it, quick recovery, short time out."

The Newcastle half-back underwent an X-ray after limping out of training which confirmed he did not break the ankle but a scan revealed a lateral ligament sprain to his right ankle.

Wilkinson is receiving intensive treatment and England say there will be no further update until next Tuesday, the day they name their team to face South Africa but there is still a possibility that he could be ruled out for the entire tournament.

The World Cup starts for us this Saturday and we've got to get a win

England scrum-half Shaun Perry

He has been plagued by injuries since landing the drop goal that claimed World Cup victory for England in 2003.

Since that famous night in Sydney, he has suffered shoulder, neck, groin, biceps and knee ligament injuries as well as a lacerated kidney and appendicitis.

He only returned to the England team earlier this year in the Six Nations clash against Scotland.

Despite the blow of losing Wilkinson for the USA contest, scrum-half Shaun Perry is confident replacement number 10 Olly Barkley will slot in with little problem.

"It doesn't really change anything in terms of the game plan," said Perry. "Jonny is a legend, and you cannot take that away from him. He has that presence about him when he is playing.

"But I played alongside Olly against the French at Twickenham last month, and we are looking forward to going out there and taking that partnership a bit further.

"We have been together for 10 weeks, so it is not hard to build a relationship in training.

"Olly is a great player. He bosses the forwards well and he bosses the backs well, which is what you need.

"As far as I am concerned, nothing changes. We've got our defensive system in place, and no matter who comes in or goes out, that system is there for a reason and that is what we all stick to.

"We know it is going to be a physical game on Saturday, and we will need to stick to our game plan, execute it well and the results will come.

"The World Cup starts for us this Saturday, and we've got to get a win under our belts, get confidence and move on to next week."



SEE ALSO
Injured Wilkinson to miss opener
04 Sep 07 |  English
Wilkinson: The Comeback King
04 Feb 07 |  Rugby Union
Ashton unsure of World Cup team
03 Jun 07 |  Rugby Union
England 'can cause Cup surprise'
19 Aug 07 |  English
France 22-9 England
18 Aug 07 |  English
Ashton content with 'Dad's Army'
14 Aug 07 |  English
England 15-21 France
11 Aug 07 |  Rugby Union
Tindall & Hodgson miss World Cup
13 Aug 07 |  English


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