Jonny Wilkinson will embark on possibly the biggest week during his disrupted post-World Cup career on Sunday as he targets British & Irish Lions selection and a Twickenham final.
England fly-half Wilkinson is seemingly within touching distance of joining Sir Clive Woodward’s New Zealand-bound Lions squad as a celebrated 45th player, having initially missed out on selection.
Woodward though, kept the door open, and Wilkinson will make a third appearance along the comeback trail when Newcastle tackle wildcard semi-final play-off opponents Gloucester at Kingsholm.
He kicked six penalties when Falcons grounded London Irish last Saturday, and struggling Gloucester can expect more of the same if they are sufficiently indisciplined to hand him scoring chances.
Newcastle rugby director Rob Andrew is looking forward to having Wilkinson in the side, and knows what a difference the fly-half can make.
"Having Jonny in the side makes a difference, because sides know that they just can’t infringe anywhere in their own half because he will make them pay," he said.
"It gives opposition teams the dilemma of having to allow us legal quick ball and give us the chance to score tries, or concede penalties and give us the chance for three points."