British & Irish Lions fly-half Stephen Jones has backed Sir Clive Woodward’s decision to give England star Jonny Wilkinson extra time to prove his fitness for the upcoming tour of New Zealand.
Although the pair would be vying for the number 10 shirt, along with Charlie Hodgson and Ronan O’Gara, come the First Test on June 25 in Christchurch, Jones feels the Newcastle Falcons man should be given every opportunity to join the 44-strong party.
"I think it’s only fair that Jonny is given the chance to prove himself," Jones told the Western Mail.
"It’s only right, if you are going to pick a British and Irish Lions team, that the best players go to New Zealand.
"Jonny is quite clearly one of them so it’s good he has been given the opportunity to make it. His presence would undoubtedly strengthen the Lions."
Whoever lines up at stand-off in the Jade Stadium, Six Nations winner Jones is determined to make the most of what he sees as a unique chance to broaden his rugby education.
"It’s going to be an unbelievable experience and a huge learning curve but a wonderful opportunity. Already I have learnt there are some great guys involved," he added.
"To have a chance to work with different people, listen to different ideas and adhere to different game plans is something I am really looking forward to.
"I was absolutely delighted to get the call. And when the squad was formally announced the following day it was fantastic. I guess it was like that for every other player in it."