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Wilkinson keen for a Lions chance

Jonny Wilkinson, the hero of the 2003 World Cup final, may have called time on his England career, but he still nurses hopes of being involved in one last British Lions tour.

Wilkinson is relishing the late stages of his rugby career in the south of France, playing for Toulon, and believes he can still make a difference at the highest level. He would jump at the chance of joining Warren Gatland’s touring party. "There's no way I could say no," he told The Guardian. "It's such a fabulous thing in terms of what it represents. It doesn't matter where you've come from, it's enormous."

His chances are slim at present, but he remains optimistic. "I'm a 33-year-old player playing in France and enjoying my rugby," he said. "I'm not England's mainstay fly-half so there's an element of realism for me," he said. "Selection is out of my control. All I can do is play and see if I fit into their plans."

Wilkinson says he is a more relaxed player these days and that retiring from England duties was not as traumatic as he had anticipated. "It gave me a new perspective after what I'd been through a year and a half before," he said, "sitting in my hotel room every night, going to bed anxious and not being able to work out what was eating me inside."

A last chance to take on the Australians whom he demoralised in that 2003 final would be a fitting end to an illustrious career.

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