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England’s hero for their Rugby World Cup in 2003 Jonny Wilkinson is delighted to be getting back to his native England at the fabled Twickenham Stoop as his side Toulon gets ready to take on the sole English challenger left in the Heineken Cup in the form of Saracens FC in the semi finals of the prestigious European tournament. And the man who booted England to Rugby World Cup glory in 2003 stated that his team’s win against the Leicester Tigers in the quarter finals of the Heineken Cup as a great one for the club.
The former England international fly half was in sparkling form for the French side, scoring all his team’s points in a 21-15 win over the record Aviva Premiership champions. The trusted left foot of Wilkinson kicked in six penalties for Toulon before a last gasp drop goal secured the victory for his side. And speaking about the win for his side, Wilkinson stated that the win was an absolutely brilliant for the club and the occasion is also huge for the club, being the first time they have reached this stage.
Jonny Wilkinson further mentioned that there is a different kind of joy in playing for the team, before adding that the energy as well as the togetherness the group of players feels is something that has kept him going even at 33 years of age. Wilkinson retired from international rugby in 2011 and he recently signed another one year deal to keep him at Toulon till 2014.
The England hero also mentioned that being able to play at the headquarters of England rugby once again is also another treat he will be getting when Toulon take on Saracens FC in the second semi final of the Heineken Cup on the 27th of April.
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The futures of Jim Mallinder, the Director of Rugby at the Aviva Premiership Rugby Football Union club the Northampton Saints and all of his coaching staff are safe, according to Leon Barwell, the chairman of the club. The Saints presently lie outside the top four places in the Aviva Premiership standings that guarantees a place in the playoff finals for the Aviva Premiership in the post season round of matches and have already been knocked out of the Heineken Cup in the very first round.
And speaking to BBC Radio Northampton, the club chairman stated that there will be no further changes in the club at the end of the season, before asserting that there will be no goings from the club to say the least. He mentioned that it was recognized very early on in the season that the coaching structure at the Northampton Saints just wasn’t perfect and there was a need to freshen things up. He quickly added that it doesn’t mean that they need to change to setup but to add fresh faces with fresh ideas that will take the club forward in the years to come.
Mallinder was linked with the vacant position of the England head coach after the departure of Martin Johnson following the team’s disastrous Rugby World Cup campaign in 2011 before it went to Stuart Lancaster. Mallinder joined the coaching set up of the Northampton Saints back in 2007 and during his tenure; the club has achieved promotion to the Aviva Premiership from the Rugby Football Union Championship, won the European Challenge Cup and also reached the finals of the Anglo Welsh Cup before finishing as runners up in the Heineken Cup back in 2011.
But they have failed to qualify from the group stages in the last two seasons, leading to speculation over his future.
Ian Davies, the head coach of the Rugby Football Union Championship club the Cornish Pirates stated that the players of the club could make a name for them and put themselves on the shop window for a bigger club to swoop for them with a decent performance against the runaway leaders of the Championship, the Newcastle Falcons.
The Pirates travel to take on The Falcons at Kingston Park, a side that is sitting 15 points ahead of second placed Bedford Blues and are yet to lose a game this season in the RFU Championship. Read more »