Jones knew French would love Jonny

Stephen Jones says he always knew fellow Lion Jonny Wilkinson would prove to be a smash hit in France. [more]

Jones knew French would love Jonny

Stephen Jones says he always knew fellow Lion Jonny Wilkinson would prove to be a smash hit in France.

Wales fly-half Jones, who played alongside Wilkinson on the 2005 Lions tour of New Zealand, went head-to-head with his England counterpart when the Scarlets travelled to Toulon at the weekend.

Jones, who himself spent two years in France with Clermont Auvergne between 2004 and 2006, believes the former IRB World Player of the Year is back to his best.

"I expected Jonny to be a hit at Toulon because he is a quality player,” said Jones, who played in six successive Tests for the Lions in 2005 and 2009.

"He’s a fantastic kicker, controls the game really well and his distribution is very good.

Google Ad Manager – In Article

"He’s a top class player who will take the points when they are available. He likes to sit back in the pocket and he will go for drop goals. He’s a top class player who does his job well.

"I’m sure Jonny has enjoyed his French experience and he has managed to keep away from injury.

"It’s great for him that he has played for the majority of the games this season and he has played very well."

The Lions duo have been shining lights in the northern hemisphere and stuck the boot into their rivals over the past decade.

The pair have scored more than 1,900 points at Test level but have rarely gone into battle against each other in direct competition.

Wilkinson suffered a horrific speight of injuries since his World Cup winning heroics seven years ago but Jones reckons the move to the south of France has re-ignited the 2001 and 2005 Lion’s career.

"I’m sure the move has been a big difference for him from Newcastle!” added Jones.

"Jonny was fluent in French before he went out there and I’m sure that helped.

"He has embraced the culture and I’m sure he has given not only a lot to the rugby side of things but also to the town as well.

"From a players’ perspective, you need a fresh challenge and you enjoy it. You become happy when you are energised and you want to work hard and keep on improving. I believe that has happened for him at club and international level."

Previous story Change of levels for Lions
Next story Lion Kings looking for Super coronation
Download