Wilkinson committed to the gym, not coaching England

Jonny Wilkinson
Jonny Wilkinson
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Jonny Wilkinson has rubbished reports he will join England’s back-room staff for the World Cup, claiming “they’ve already got all the coaches they need”.

World Cup-winner Wilkinson scotched French media reports he would assume a kicking coach role in England’s build-up to hosting World Cup 2015.

The former Toulon and England fly-half has addressed Stuart Lancaster’s squad several times, and admitted he will continue that ad hoc relationship.

The 35-year-old admitted he harbours “serious reservations” about whether he will seek a full-time career in coaching, despite currently holding a skills role at Toulon.

Wilkinson lives close to England’s Pennyhill Park training base in Bagshot, and uses the hotel gym – where he admitted he comes into casual contact with the Test squad.

“They’ve already got all the coaches they need and everyone can see how good the job is that they are doing,” said Wilkinson.

“There’s no need for me to be there, apart from just to be positive.

“It came out of France, which is why it’s so random. I don’t know why they would know anything about what I’m supposed to be doing.

“But in terms of being around England, it’s great because there’s no feeling that I need to sneak through, if I see someone, Stuart Lancaster, Graham Rowntree or the players, I just say ‘hi, how’s things?’.

“There’s absolutely nothing I can say about that story, honestly, it’s the most difficult thing, because I can say actually nothing about it.

“It’s not annoying. It makes no difference to my life either way, but it probably does to you guys.

“Sometimes when I’m walking down to the gym I’ll bump into Catty and I’ll ask him how things are. Sometimes I’ll bump into Andy Farrell or Mike Brown, who I’ve played with and against. When you see them it’s good to have a catch-up. I live at the gym as well, which doesn’t help!

“That’s probably the main thread here, that unfortunately I’m at the gym too much, so it might look like I’m hanging out with the squad when I’m not.

“It’s nice to be around that atmosphere, it reminds a fair bit of what I used to be up to.”

London Welsh’s relegation from the Aviva Premiership was finally confirmed yesterday as Bath won 29-14 at the Kassam Stadium to move up to third.

It was one of Welsh’s better performances of the season but it was still their 18th straight defeat, making their relegation now a mathematical certainty.

Danny Cipriani returned from England duty to help steer Sale Sharks to within one point of the Premiership top six following a 23-6 triumph over Gloucester.

Saracens kept pace with leaders Northampton with a stunning 42-14 victory over Harlequins at Wembley on Saturday in front of a world record 84,068 crowd for a club game. A brace of tries apiece from Chris Wyles and Chris Ashton plus a late Billy Vunipola score secured the win while Charlie Hodgson and Alex Goode contributed 17 points from the boot between them.