Wilkinson calls for patience

British & Irish Lions and England star Jonny Wilkinson has called for patience as the world champions prepare to launch their autumn Test series against Australia at Twickenham on Saturday. [more]

Lions Australia Tour 2013

British & Irish Lions and England star Jonny Wilkinson has called for patience as the world champions prepare to launch their autumn Test series against Australia at Twickenham on Saturday.

Captain Martin Corry and his players will be looking to deliver a winning performance after England struggled their way through last season’s eight-Test campaign in achieving only a 50 per cent success-rate.

With the All Blacks looming large on England’s autumn agenda, first they they will tackle a Wallabies side reeling from a 30-year low of six successive defeats.

"Like all England fans, I desperately want them (England) to do well," said an absent Wilkinson, whose prolonged injury misery means it is two years this month since he last played for his country.

"And I think people just have to be patient, because they are in a rebuilding phase at the moment and they need everyone’s support.

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"Having played with Matt Burke and Owen Finegan (at Newcastle), I know first-hand the quality of players that Australia produces.

"It will be a hard game for sure, but one that England are capable of winning with the excellent squad they have."

Head coach Andy Robinson has named three uncapped players on the bench in Wasps full-back Mark Van Gisbergen, Bath hooker Lee Mears and Leicester’s Louis Deacon, but it is England’s experienced core of players who will really be expected to fire.

World Cup quartet Ben Cohen, Mike Tindall, Matt Dawson and Phil Vickery – more than 200 caps between them – are back as the countdown towards England’s Webb Ellis Trophy defence now starts to get serious.

"I think the team is well-prepared for playing against Australia," said Robinson, whose record since he replaced Sir Clive Woodward just over a year ago shows only four wins from eight starts.

"Martin Corry has a great empathy with the players, and a very good understanding of what it means to be the captain of England, and he has really taken the role on board.

"He leads the team extremely well, and he works well with the other leaders in the team."

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