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   Wednesday, 15 January, 2003, 17:35 GMT
Back with a vengeance
England fly-half and BBC Sport Online pundit Jonny Wilkinson reports a clean bill of health after making his comeback from a shoulder injury.

I wanted to be able to say that when I came back from injury I was back for good - well, hopefully, that is me set for the rest of the season now.

It was a big step playing against Saracens on Monday.

Jonny Wilkinson kicks during his comeback for Newcastle
Kicking went fine - even without a tee

I felt quite nervous beforehand, hoping the injury would be alright, but the shoulder stood up well.

It was a bit sore afterwards but fortunately it has come through without any major mishaps.

It was difficult to forget about my shoulder during the match because I didn't want to face six more weeks on the sidelines.

But the more I threw myself into the game, the less conscious of my shoulder I became. It proved it was ready for action again.

Hopefully I can build from here now, learn from my performance and find my form again.

I want to get back to where I was before my injury as quickly as possible.

It was also good to find my kicking range again. But things were not quite as they might have appeared.

I forgot my kicking tee when I went out on the field - I should have given it to one of the ball boys - but I left it in the changing room.

Mentally I feel as fresh and enthusiastic as ever and I'm raring to go

It was my own fault but I had to take my first shot at goal - from 45 metres out on the left touchline - off the ground.

I do practice like that quite a lot so I thought I'd have a shot at it anyway, and thankfully it went over.

I missed one from inside our half later on but otherwise the kicking went pretty well.

I wasn't exactly over the moon with my overall display, but I was pleased that I didn't feel miles off the pace.

It has been quite a frustrating time.

Physically it has not been easy because I have not been able to do much on my left side. I have lost a bit of weight and muscle mass, and haven't been able to get fully fit.

It has not been like a summer break because I haven't been totally away from the game - I wanted to be around the Newcastle lads.

Jonny Wilkinson in action for England
The Six Nations would be a welcome bonus

But now, mentally at least, I feel as fresh and enthusiastic as ever and I am raring to go.

Despite the result there were a lot of plus points to our performance at Saracens, particularly in the first hour.

We got a bit of our strength back and looked more like the Newcastle of old.

It is important we get back to being ourselves again, but the negative side was the last half hour or so where we let ourselves down.

Sunday's return leg at home is going to be very tough because Saracens have shown what they are capable of away from home - they recently ran Leicester close at Welford Road.

Away from club matters, I haven't really been thinking about the Six Nations yet.

I wanted to get back as soon as I could with Newcastle and then find out where I stand.

If I can get back to where I was before the injury in time for the Six Nations then great, but the most important thing is that I should be OK for the rest of the season with Newcastle.

Links to more Jonny Wilkinson stories are at the foot of the page.


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