Flood hails Wilkinson effect

Jonny Wilkinson has been dubbed a "pioneer" of rugby union's professional age as he prepares to break another world record at Murrayfield [more]

Lions Australia Tour 2013

Jonny Wilkinson has been dubbed a "pioneer" of rugby union’s professional age as he prepares to break another world record at Murrayfield

England fly-half Wilkinson’s first successful goal-kick against Scotland will make him the all-time top points scorer in Test history, overtaking Welshman Neil Jenkins’ mark for Wales and the Lions of 1,090.

There had been some debate about whether or not Wilkinson’s 20 points for the Lions against Argentina in 2005 counted, but that has now been ratified by the International Rugby Board.

Wilkinson has equalled Jenkins’ total in 20 fewer games, and his latest achievement should arrive just a fortnight after he set a new world-best – 29 – for international drop-goals.

Centre Toby Flood, Wilkinson’s England and Newcastle colleague, believes the 28-year-old will deserve every accolade showered upon him.

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Flood said: "All credit to Jonny for his endeavour and work-rate. Hats off to him – what a fantastic achievement it will be.

"To be the all-time highest points scorer in international rugby shows not only his ability to kick, but also the ability he has to be involved in the team.

"Over the past 10 years, he has been the best in his position. When I was 19 or 20, he was a guy I was desperate to tap into in terms of his knowledge.

"He’s helped me with my goalkicking, the mental side of the game and understanding the game. He has been a huge help.

"Jonny has been paramount in what I have been able to achieve so far. The guy is a world-class player."

Flood sees Wilkinson as exceptional in many ways, saying: "He’s just hugely driven. He puts in hours and hours of extra work, and he was the sort of pioneer of that approach."

"He was the guy who said ‘this is what I want to do; I want to be one of the best, and this is what it takes.’

"Take Tiger Woods – I don’t think any other golfer had hit the gym until he came along. Jonny has set the level, and guys are desperate to get near him."

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