Farrell gets Wilkinson backing

Toulon star Jonny Wilkinson has backed Saracens fly-half Owen Farrell to be a key man for club and country in the coming years ahead of their Heineken Cup final showdown on Saturday (Toulon 8/13, Saracens 13/10, draw 20/1 – 80 Minutes).

Wilkinson, who was a regular fly-half for England between 1999 and 2011, announced that he will be retiring from rugby union at the end of this season.

And while the 34-year-old, whose drop goal in the last minute of extra time against Australia won the 2003 Rugby World Cup final for England, wants to go out with a win (Toulon 4/7 – Tournament Outright) at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff, he expects Farrell to be a formidable opponent in the Aviva Premiership side’s ranks.

“I think Owen Farrell and Saracens or Owen Farrell and England at the moment are very much the same thing,” said Wilkinson on the 22-year-old.

“He is a representation of all that is good in those teams at the moment in terms of his skill level, his understanding of the game, leadership qualities and such like.

“I think the consistency of his performance and also his mental toughness, which is quite something to behold, has given a huge amount of strength and solidity to all the teams he plays in.

“He seems to be a guy you are able to build things around because of that consistency and that mental ability to keep going and pushing further, and going into some of the harshest rugby environments there are, and really dominate.”

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