Wilkinson to start for Falcons

British & Irish Lions hopeful Jonny Wilkinson will start his first game for seven weeks when Newcastle tackle Zurich Premiership opponents London Irish on Saturday. [more]

Lions Australia Tour 2013

British & Irish Lions hopeful Jonny Wilkinson will start his first game for seven weeks when Newcastle tackle Zurich Premiership opponents London Irish on Saturday.

Wilkinson is hoping to prove his fitness to Lions coach Sir Clive Woodward so that he can join up with the squad as its 45th member.

The Lions leave on May 25, and England fly-half Wilkinson could notch up another four appearances before then.

He made a successful return off the bench during the Falcons’ narrow defeat at Northampton earlier this month, having been sidelined since suffering a knee injury against Harlequins five weeks earlier.

"He is fit and raring to go, and I know he can’t wait to play in front of the Newcastle fans for the first time in a while," said Falcons rugby director Rob Andrew.

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"There are no question marks over his fitness at all, and we look forward to him being part of a good team performance, hopefully followed by a wildcard semi-final and final."

It will be only Wilkinson’s second Kingston Park appearance this year, as he looks to put a catalogue of post-World Cup injury setbacks behind him.

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