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Page last updated at 20:32 GMT, Saturday, 28 February 2009

Falcons expect Wilkinson to stay

Jonny Wilkinson
Wilkinson dislocated his knee in September

Newcastle director of rugby Steve Bates expects Jonny Wilkinson to stay with the Falcons next season and shun the interest of French club Racing Metro.

Several leading English players have agreed to join French clubs, and fly-half Wilkinson is one of a number of high-profile targets for Racing Metro.

"At the moment we are very optimistic about that," said Bates, after Saturday's 19-13 win over Northampton.

Wilkinson is working his way back to fitness after two more knee operations.

"He is under contract for next season and, as far as I'm concerned, that's what we're expecting to happen," added Bates.

World Cup winner Wilkinson, 29, is expected to make his return for Newcastle before the end of March.

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see also
Trio quit Wasps to play in France
17 Feb 09 |  London Wasps
England talent drain worries RFU
19 Feb 09 |  Rugby Union
Northampton 13-19 Newcastle
28 Feb 09 |  English
Wilkinson key for Falcons - Bates
19 Sep 08 |  Newcastle
Wilkinson: The Comeback King
04 Feb 07 |  Rugby Union

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