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Wilko hopes Toulon will change his luck for good

JONNY Wilkinson hopes his move to French club Toulon from Newcastle will signal a change of fortune after an injury-plagued few years.

The 29-year-old flyhalf has been sidelined for five months after dislocating his left kneecap, the latest setback in a career beset by injury since he kicked the winning drop goal for England against Australia in the 2003 World Cup final.

"It had got to the point where I wasn't helping by being around the club any more and the association of me as an injured, non-playing person had set in and I hated that," Wilkinson said in his column in The Times. "A different club will help me to escape all that negative energy."

Wilkinson has signed a two-year contract with the option to cancel after a year, but said he hoped to re-sign for longer.

"That was my decision because I want to stay in control of my future, but I would hope and expect it to be a success and for me to re-sign for longer," he added.

"And I hope that this will be the springboard to what I see as another five years in my career."

Wilkinson is still to undergo a medical with the south-west France club but does not expect that to cause any problems.

"Everyone is sufficiently confident to allow me to sign the contract and then do the medical next week," he said. "I don't see it as an issue. Physically I am now fine. I wouldn't be signing for next season if I wasn't going to be playing."

Injury has ruled Wilkinson out of the British and Irish Lions tour of South Africa next month but he believes his move will help him get back into the international fold.

"I hope it will give me the games to rebuild an international career," he said. "I haven't played, for obvious reasons, and so I haven't figured for England and I want that to change.

"I feel I have to give myself a new environment and a new start. I could not forgive myself if I didn't try everything to get myself out playing regularly."


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