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  Tuesday, 24 September, 2002, 16:14 GMT 17:14 UK
A dark day at Kingston Park
In his latest exclusive column, England and Newcastle fly-half Jonny Wilkinson says he is determined to help the Falcons improve after their thrashing by Leicester.

Neil Back in action for Leicester Tigers
Back scored a traditional push-over for the Tigers

'Dismal', 'unacceptable' and 'unprofessional'. Those were just some of the words used to describe our performance in the Newcastle dressing-room after the defeat against Leicester.

There were others, of course, but I cannot print them here.

The scoreline of 52-9 was undoubtedly one of my worst experiences at club level and, quite frankly, was not an honest reflection of what we can achieve.

We have created a situation for ourselves that we have to attend to quickly. I have no doubt we can pull ourselves out of this hole, but we have to do it - and do it fast.

Every player who took the field on Saturday should look in the mirror and ask themselves if they gave an honest performance.

I know the answer and so do the fans, and I do not want to have to go through that again.

You certainly will not find a player in the Premiership who is willing to write Leicester off so early in the season

This is a time each of us has to stand up and be counted. Let's face it - we have a lot to do.

It is just not acceptable for a professional team to perform in that manner and as captain it is my duty to ensure it does not happen again.

Clearly, a scoreline like that is not going to get people rushing through the turnstiles - and we have to bear responsibility for the disappointment of those who pay our wages.

I still have a huge amount of confidence in the ability of myself and my team-mates to pull through this.

What we are missing is precision and accuracy, and we need to take some pride both in ourselves and our performances.

This is not a time to panic and start making changes. If Saturday had been the best we could have achieved I would be very concerned indeed. But it was not.

So, instead we have to ask the question 'why did it happen?' And we need to find an answer pretty damn quick.

No doubt Leicester's performance has put an end to all those absurd articles in the press that have raised doubts about their title credentials.

You certainly will not find a player in the Premiership who is willing to write them off so early in the season.

Leicester are Leicester and they always will be. They are the Zurich champions and double European Cup winners. Need I say more?

It disappoints me to learn that some are already questioning whether I'll be at Newcastle next season

A number of results have showed that this season is going to be very competitive - perhaps more so than in the past few years.

The Tigers have endured some disappointing results, but so will every team. There are no easy options playing anywhere this year - regardless of the fixture list.

The same goes for us this weekend. Our next opponents are Leeds, the so-called 'minnows', as some journalists like to call them.

Well the 'minnows' have not made a bad start have they? They are unbeaten this season, second in the Premiership and have already defeated the Tigers.

It has been great start for them and we cannot afford to perform like we did last Saturday. The Tykes are a fantastic side and a squad brimming with confidence.

Club man

It disappoints me to learn that some are already questioning whether I will be at Newcastle next season, because jumping ship has never been in my nature.

I am the club captain and as such I have to assume responsibility for the team, but I have also set myself personal goals.

I want to be a better player, a better captain and a better person for it.

I want to keep improving and I want to be able to say that I have given my all in my new role and succeeded.

I have never been one to think 'how can I get out of this?' For me every situation is a challenge and I have got to think about how we can turn this around.

Each of us has a job to do and you can be sure of this - I will push myself to the limit to ensure that we all succeed.


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21 Sep 02 | Jonny Wilkinson
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