Wilkinson got the better of his younger counterpart and Lions hopeful Owen Farrell at Twickenham, which set his French team up for a meeting with Clermont, who edged out Munster 16-10 on Saturday in the other semi-final.
The man himself, a Lion in 2001 and 2005, is a genuine chance to go to Australia but isn’t holding his breath.
“The Lions stuff is difficult for me,” Wilkinson said. “It’s not that I wouldn’t consider it. It’s the most amazing experience you can get in rugby but there are young players like Owen Farrell, Toby Flood and Dan Biggar who are taking rugby forward. It’s their era. I want those guys to experience [a Lions tour] because they deserve it. I’m digging my fingernails in and hanging on really.”
One major disadvantage for Wilkinson is that Lions coach Warren Gatland wants his side to leave at the same time, and if Toulon make the Top 14 final he’d miss the first tour match in Hong Kong.
Toulon coach Bernard Laporte paid tribute to his veteran.
“Jonny was huge today,” he said. “Great players win great matches and that was the case.”
Saracens director of rugby Mark McCall said Wilkinson’s long-range kicking was the difference, before he put the nail in the coffin with a drop goal.
“It seems as though it was comfortable for Toulon, but it wasn’t,” he said.
“There were a couple of times when we were three points down when we had some decent chances in their 22 and failed to capitalise. And Jonny Wilkinson kept on kicking goals from long distance.”
Saracens will now focus on taking out the Aviva Premiership, with their last regular season game against Bath this Saturday, May 4, ahead of the finals.
They have already wrapped up the first past the post honours for the season.
Images via Meyer Pieterse
Jonny Wilkinson has got to be on the plane to Aussie with the British Lions….!!! Magnificent for Toulon today and all season….!!!
— Ian Botham (@BeefyBotham) April 28, 2013