Jonny Wilkinson admitted it was games like their HEC quarter-final victory over Leicester that made him want to carry on playing.
Jonny Wilkinson admitted it was games like their Heineken Cup quarter-final victory over Leicester that made him want to carry on playing.
Wilkinson outscored former England team-mate Toby Flood in a battle of the boot between past and present international fly-halves as the Top 14 leaders squeezed past two-time champions Leicester 21-15 at Stade FÃ©lix Mayol on Sunday.
Three penalties from Flood gave the Tigers an early 9-0 lead before two successful kicks from Wilkinson hauled the hosts to within three at half-time.
Two subsequent penalties from Wilkinson, who earlier in the week announced he would extend his stay with Toulon for a further season, handed the French club their first lead at 12-9 before Flood hauled Leicester level.
Toulon then moved 18-12 ahead thanks to two more efforts from Wilkinson but Flood gave Leicester hope with his fifth penalty of the tie 15 minutes from the end only for Wilkinson to wrap up proceedings with a late drop goal.
“It's a great victory for the club. It was a big occasion and this is a first for us. That is why he signed a new contract, for days like this,” said Wilkinson. “The joy and desire to play with this team, the energy and togetherness we feel is what has kept me going.
“The atmosphere was a little bit bigger than normal but we deal with similar every week. It's one of the reasons that make it so difficult to start thinking about stopping playing.
“It was a phenomenally difficult game and it is no wonder Leicester Tigers are always at the top of the Premiership and reaching quarters, semis and finals of the Heineken Cup.”
Wilkinson and Toulon return to domestic action in the Top 14 before taking on Saracens in the Heineken Cup semi-finals at Twickenham on April 28.
“We will learn a lot from that and hopefully we can go on and use that knowledge in the semi-final against Saracens,” he added. “It will be great to be back at Twickenham but it's also the occasion that counts.
“We know it's a hell of an ask but we have given ourselves a chance and must continue to work hard.”