Jonny come lately

Don’t be surprised to see Jonny Wilkinson in Australia with the British and Irish Lions.

Lions coach Warren Gatland confirmed Wilkinson had declared himself unavailable to tour and encouraged the selectors to pick Owen Farrell.

Gatland said the selectors wanted Wilkinson but the player felt his body would not meet the demands of the six week tour.

Gatland, however, did not rule out Wilkinson still playing a part in the three-Test series. He said that if a replacement flyhalf was needed because of injury he would ‘resume’ the conversation with Wilkinson, who in any event would not have been available to leave for Australia with the squad because of the French Top 14 final.

The Lions play the Barbarians in Hong Kong as a tour warm-up on the day of the French domestic final.

Gatland only named two specialist flyhalves in a squad of 37, when it was expected the squad would be 38 and there would be three flyhalves.

It would surprise few if Wilkinson reassesses his appetite for Australia post the French final.