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Rugby World Cup 2015
Wilkinson dismisses rumours of England World Cup role
Tom Hamilton
March 29, 2015
Jonny Wilkinson had been tipped to play a part in England's World Cup preparations © Getty Images
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Jonny Wilkinson has poured cold water on the reports he is set to join England's backroom staff for the Rugby World Cup.

Reports suggested the World Cup-winner was going to help out with the team's kickers and potentially work with the backs, but Wilkinson has denied those suggestions saying there is no truth in the rumours.

"They've already got all the coaches they need and everyone can see how good the job is that they are doing," Wilkinson said. "There's no need for me to be there, apart from just to be positive."

Now retired, Wilkinson is currently working a week a month with Toulon, the team he helped guide to two Heineken Cups in as many seasons. Wilkinson was at Farnborough RFC on Sunday in what was a surprise for two amateur teams in an event which signalled the launch of Land Rover's Rugby World Cup sponsorship campaign.

Despite being out of the international scene for four years, the man still has an aura about him. During the game between Racal Decca RFC and Streatham-Croydon RFC he ran a tee onto the field - a surprise for the kicker - and was greeted with involuntary applause.

His expertise with the nuances of the game seem perfect for a backroom role, but he prefers to work with individuals rather than a larger group. And when asked whether he could see himself coaching England one day, Wilkinson said: "I don't know, to be honest I have serious reservations about my ability to coach groups of players.

"It's a very different job from one-on-one coaching, where you get to know a personality, you understand them and work with them on a day-to-day basis. It's a very different job and a very, very tough job taking a group and living that life.

"I don't know, I honestly don't know. What I do know is that I absolutely adore working with people one-on-one and getting to know people really well, finding out what they need and trying to supply that in an ongoing supportive role."

Wilkinson has sat in on team meetings during the Stuart Lancaster era and has offered advice, but he says such occurrences have been through chance rather than design.

"I live just round the corner and I use the gym so sometimes when I'm walking down to the gym I'll bump into Catty and I'll ask him how things are. Sometimes I'll bump into Andy Farrell or Mike Brown, who I've played with and against. When you see them it's good to have a catch-up.

"I live at the gym as well, which doesn't help! That's probably the main thread here, that unfortunately I'm at the gym too much, so it might look like I'm hanging out with the squad when I'm not.

"It's nice to be around that atmosphere, it reminds a fair bit of what I used to be up to."

England fullback Mike Brown has been in such meetings with Wilkinson and he would welcome anymore input from the World Cup-winning fly-half.

"He came in and addressed the squad and let us know what he thought of how we were playing," Brown said of Wilkinson. "He was so positive, it was great for us to hear that. We want those who previously played for England to feel proud of what we are doing so to hear something like that from him was amazing. As backs he sat in on our group chats and he ducked in and out of that, giving advice. It's great to hear his point of view and to hear a different voice."

Land Rover Ambassador Jonny Wilkinson was speaking at the launch of 'We Deal In Real', Land Rover's Rugby World Cup 2015 campaign. www.landrover.com/rugby #wedealinreal

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd
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