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Last Updated:  Wednesday, 26 February, 2003, 01:23 GMT
Taking the big hits
In his exclusive column, England fly-half Jonny Wilkinson discusses his aggressive style of play and backs Clive Woodward's side to overcome their injury problems.

Jonny Wilkinson
Wilkinson lies on the ground against Wales after taking another big hit
Well, I was in the wars again against Wales last Saturday but my knee is fine. It was just a bang.

I got trodden on accidentally by one of their guys clearing out a ruck, and when I hit the ground I just caught my knee.

It was painful at the time and I couldn't really walk properly. I was struggling for a bit and it took a bit of time for the feeling to come back.

So I came off for the last five minutes as a precaution. I also needed some treatment for a neck problem earlier in the game which I just caught in the wrong place.

But that is fine as well and I'm back training with Newcastle now preparing for another massive game against Wasps as the weekend.

It has been suggested I need to reign in my approach on the field to try to steer clear of injury but it is a very personal thing for me.

I have to play the game that way, and I think I would get injured more if I was thinking about avoiding certain situations.

But Phil Bennett has got a point. Sometimes I watch games on video and look at certain situations and think, 'What have I got myself in there for?'

But at the time that is my natural instinct and that is what makes me as a player. That is just the edge I am trying to put on my own game and on my team.

I am learning all the time on how to avoid situations like that, even though it is a part of the game I find very enjoyable. I love to be thoroughly involved.

We haven't perhaps found our feet totally in the first two games but we have played against two great sides
Some people were surprised how well Wales played last Saturday but it was never going to be the one-sided game the press had talked about.

We were up against a side that had it all to prove after being heavily criticised and they were always going to play with a lot of passion in front of their own supporters.

Knowing a few of their players from the Lions tour, I have a huge amount of respect for the Welsh team and we ignored what was being said and prepared ourselves for what we knew would be a massive game.

We haven't perhaps found our feet totally in the first two games but we have played against two great sides and come away with a win each time.

That is the bottom line and you can't ignore that. They have put us under a lot of pressure and we have had to dog out two victories.

But although we have achieved that target there is still a lot for us to work on.

Jonny Wilkinson is collared by two Welsh tacklers
Wales gave England a tough test in Cardiff
On a personal note it was nice to see two drop-goal attempts come off.

I just went for them at the time but it was good to put some points on the board because Wales were really pressurising us.

We have picked up a few injuries but unfortunately that is part of the professional game.

It is very sad to hear that Phil Vickery won't play again this season, and we need to get these other players fit again as quickly as possible.

But what is important for England is that we are able to play on regardless of who is in the team.

We have got a fantastic squad of players with the A team being part of the senior set-up this year.

Everyone knows the score and we will battle on.





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