(Courtesy of tom.midwood)
Jonny Wilkinson told Ian Robinson on Radio 5 that he feels a better player since moving to French club Toulon.
The England international spent 10 months on the sidelines prior to the move, beginning life in the South of France a little hesitant.
Six months on, the fly-half feels fitter and fresher than ever before, and believes a change of scenery has done his life, on and off the field, the world of good.
He told Radio Five: “Its been a hell of an experience going over there (Toulon) and what’s really helped has been the opportunity to be a new guy in a team and have to search quickly to try and understand the game.”
“I’m getting better week in, week out and thats exactly where I want to be as a player.”
Wilkinson’s impressive start to the season in France – along with a few injuries in the England camp – sees the 30 year-old back in the international reckoning.
England rugby coach, Martin Johnson, has rightly named the reborn Wilkinson in his squad for next months match against Australia at Twickenham.
Johnson will hope Wilkinson can transfer his impressive club form for his country, as he prepares his side for the Six Nations in January.
November the 22nd 2003 seems a distant memory when Wilkinson scored that drop goal in Sydney against the Aussie’s to win the World Cup.
A moment to savoiour for most Englishmen, but one of the reasons why Wilkinson decided to leave his homeland for pastures new.
“I have been trying for a long time to leave things behind me, injuries, a few elements of the  World Cup that were placed on me at a young age and you perhaps want to break free from.
“Coming here is a good illustration of being able to wake up one day and follow a new direction. It is something I can’t wait to be involved in,” he told the Times back in March.
Toulon or Newcastle?
So, apart from the game itself, lets see some possible reasons as to why Wilkinson has flourished in France.
(Courtesy of Wikipedia)
- Located in Southern France
- Situated by the sea
- Has a Mediterranean climate – with strong sunny days, and little rain
- Emmanuel Bertin, inventor of kite surfing, is from Toulon
- Cade toulonnaise – a thin pancake made from chickpea flour – is a gourmet speciality
(Courtesy of Wikipedia)
- Located North East of England
- Situated on the north bank of the River Tyne
- Climate generally dry yet chilly
- Celebrity duo Ant and Dec are from Newcastle
- Curries are popular among the locals along with a Newcastle Toon Ale
Below are highlights and a discussion of Jonny Wilkinson’s fantastic start to his Toulon career.