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Last Updated: Thursday, 11 October 2007, 18:44 GMT 19:44 UK
Wilkinson calms kicking concerns
England fly-half Jonny Wilkinson
Wilkinson practises on Thursday at the Stade de France
England fly-half Jonny Wilkinson is unfazed at concerns over his kicking ahead of the World Cup semi-final against France on Saturday.

Wilkinson has a success rate of 62.5% in the tournament, which is well below his usual standard, with the balls being used also questioned.

"At the moment, I am doing the best I can," said 28-year-old Wilkinson.

"For me that will always be good enough as I know the work I am putting in in preparation for these big games."

He added: "My whole ethos has been never to blame your tools and I would have had nothing to say were it not for the fact that it had been mentioned that there were people struggling with the balls.

"My response was that they are a little bit different, take a little bit of getting used to and sometimes they do things that you are not quite sure about.


"We had an opportunity to kick with the match balls on Thursday.

"That's fantastic for getting used to them and, hopefully, giving us a better shot at knocking a few more over."

Wilkinson has been cited as a threat by French coach Bernard Laporte but the England fly-half is also wary about the danger the competition hosts pose.

"The great strength is that France have this amazing ability to just win at the moment," said Wilkinson.

"I think that comes from a huge and well justified self-belief and confidence.

"It comes from having all the strengths from one to 15 and that means having the ability to stamp on the game any gameplan and be able to change it at any time.

You want to give it your best shot and walk off the field knowing that if you had your chance again you would do exactly the same

Jonny Wilkinson

"With the quality of players to come off the bench they also have an ability to cause a huge impact at some point too.

"I guess it gives them a huge amount of strength on the mental side as well as knowing there is very little they cannot deal with.

"That comes from having a huge power up front, great pace out in the backs and a very talented decision-making core."

But Wilkinson insists the England players are making sure they prepare themselves to the height of their powers in readiness for the match.

"If anything we are working harder and harder and there are a lot of honest guys who are giving everything to this," he said.

"You want to give it your best shot and walk off the field knowing that if you had your chance again you would do exactly the same."

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