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Last Updated: Friday, 18 April, 2003, 16:04 GMT 17:04 UK
Avoiding the drop

By Jonny Wilkinson
Newcastle and England fly-half

All the teams struggling to stay afloat in the Premiership have been talking about how they are confident of avoiding relegation.

Jonny Wilkinson takes a kick for Newcastle
We cannot let our concentration lapse even for a second

I, as well as a lot of the guys at Newcastle, have done exactly the same but the thing is I genuinely mean it.

Okay - we're bottom of the league but that is not a reflection of how we are as a team.

We've only just started to put together the sort of performances we are capable of in the last few games and I think our supporters can expect even more to come.

Don't get me wrong. I'm not suggesting this task will be an easy one or that I'm particularly relishing being bottom at this stage of the season.

But the simple fact is we are and we have to get on with it and are well aware what we need to do.

Because of our position, every time we run out on the field is crucial - every try, every point I kick and every move we attempt.

People argue that puts the pressure on me as fly-half and goal-kicker but I genuinely don't see it as any different from any of the other guys.

It's what we're paid to do and we must get out and do the job.

But that's the case with all our relegation rivals. Everyone wants to have the security and we need to make sure we clear ourselves out of the danger zone as quickly as possible. Once we're safe we can relax.

It is not that enjoyable an experience for me and the rest of the team but there is no denying it's an exciting end to the season

The two most important things we cannot lose sight of are confidence and concentration.

We have to go out believing we can win all our games and we cannot let our concentration lapse even for a second of the 80 minutes of each game.

Undoubtedly the most important game coming up is against Bath. They are in a similar position and you cannot get more of a desperation match.

But we'll do it - I'm very confident of that - for ourselves and for all the fans.

They have been very supportive of everything that we're doing even when the performances on our part have been lacklustre.

It is not that enjoyable an experience for me and the rest of the team but there is no denying it's an exciting end to the season.

So often the talk is all about teams challenging for the title - or how early Leicester will win it as has been the case in the past.

But this time around, the focus is on the team's battling to avoid the drop and that can only make for scintillating viewing.



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Wilkinson commits to Falcons
18 Apr 03  |  English

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