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Page last updated at 17:36 GMT, Friday, 10 October 2008 18:36 UK

Wilkinson 'must not change style'

Jonny Wilkinson is helped from the field
Wilkinson had just returned from surgery when he was injured.

Jonny Wilkinson should not change his confrontational style of play despite his latest serious injury, says Newcastle's director of rugby.

Wilkinson will be out of action for five months with a dislocated knee but Steve Bates says it was just bad luck.

"It wasn't from a tackle, it was a run-of-the-mill static situation," he said.

"If his injuries were from smashing into people you could say that (he should change) but he's whole-hearted and relishes that area of the game."

Wilkinson suffered his injury in Newcastle's 39-23 loss to Gloucester, in what was only his fourth game back after six months out because of shoulder surgery.

606: DEBATE

He has now been ruled out of England's autumn Tests and is likely to miss next year's Six Nations, but he told The Times: "I'll nail one thing - the idea this might be the end of my playing career. Forget it. It's not a consideration."

And although Bates said it was a huge setback for the team, he was confident Wilkinson would return as strong as ever.

Falcons boss Bates laments Wilkinson loss

"It's a massive blow from our point of view as a team," he said.

"He was playing so well and looking as good as I've seen him - he was flying around and really enjoying his rugby.

"It's also a real blow for him as individual, he'd worked so hard to get back from his shoulder injury and after two or three weeks back, he's on the touchline for an extended period.

"But he'll be back, he's a fantastic professional who will look after himself during this period."


see also
Falcons upbeat after Wilkinson op
03 Oct 08 |  Newcastle
Gloucester 39-23 Newcastle
30 Sep 08 |  English
Wilkinson key for Falcons - Bates
19 Sep 08 |  Newcastle


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