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Premiership Rugby

Wilkinson on ‘that’ drop-goal

A Gallagher Premiership Rugby ball

Wilkinson, already a hero in England before the World Cup got under way in early October, will receive a welcome fit for a King when he returns home to his native Newcastle, although the young fly-half was just happy the kick went over after three previous attempts had gone wide.

"We knew we had to hang in there. I didn't want the game to go to a drop-goal competition. I just wanted to win so much for the other guys. It was frustrating to see a couple [of drop-goal attempts] go wide and in the end I just had to make sure it [the final attempt] hit my foot.

"I missed two, then I missed three and then fortunately the fourth went over. You never know with 20 seconds to go, but I certainly felt better than the minute before."

The victory was a sweet one for Wilkinson – the leading scorer at the World Cup, with 113 points – especially after enduring a lot of criticism for his "boring" approach at the World Cup.

"I've got no voice left," he said. "It's what we've fought for for so long. Every single game we've put ourselves on the line. It's been one of those years certainly I'll never forget.

"When we get back home there'll be more games to play, but I want to hold on to this moment for as long as possible. We won't be going to bed too early tonight."

Despite trailing by 14-5 at half-time, the Wallabies managed to draw level at full-time (14-14) after Wallaby inside centre Elton Flatley struck a penalty on the stroke of the 80th minute, with Wilkinson commending the defending champions on their second-half fightback.

"I don't think you ever have it under control against a team like Australia. They're a world-class side," he said.

"Their pressure in defence was fantastic. You can't argue with how they played. I certainly felt under pressure."

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