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What a load of balls! Wilkinson lashes out at World Cup organisers

The England star has a few choice words for the tournament chiefs in his forthcoming autobiography.

Jonny Wilkinson: there's a 50% chance that he missed this one.
Jonny Wilkinson: there's a 50% chance that he missed this one.
Image: David Davies/PA Wire/Press Association Images

JONNY WILKINSON HASN’T forgotten about his struggle from the kicking tee at this year’s Rugby World Cup.

Not by a long shot.

Writing in the imaginatively-titled My Autobiography, which is being serialised in the Times, the England fly-half launched a bitter broadside at tournament organisers, slamming them as “horribly unprofessional” for forcing the players to use sub-standard balls.

Wilkinson, who landed just 50% of his kicks at goal before England’s quarter-final exit to France, repeatedly expressed his frustration with the tournament ball while in New Zealand and even earned himself an IRB reprimand when he was caught trying to illegally switch the ball during the win against Romania.

“My feeling is that it’s just horribly unprofessional and an extremely bitter pill to swallow that, at the biggest tournament in the sport, we’re having to deal with this,” Wilkinson wrote.

The problem is that when you feel like you’re smashing it and the feedback is telling you that everything is great, yet the ball is swinging both ways and missing one way and then the other, you’re left with a very difficult situation. From then on it’s a joke.

“The organisers claim that all the balls are the same, but they’re not. If they were they wouldn’t be doing this.”

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Niall Kelly

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