England enlist help of Wilkinson and Smith


Rugby World Cup winner Jonny Wilkinson and former Australia international George Smith are to work with England on an informal basis during the Six Nations.

Wilkinson, his country's record points scorer, wrote himself into England folklore by kicking the winning drop goal to secure World Cup glory against an Eddie Jones-led Australia in 2003.

Jones replaced Stuart Lancaster as England coach in November and spoke of his desire to bring Wilkinson into his backroom team in some capacity.

And the former fly-half will help out during the Six Nations.

"We've got an informal relationship with Jonny that he'll come in at various times to help our players with their kicking," Jones told the Rugby Football Union's official website.

"It's not a formal relationship but we're very grateful that he's going to lend his considerable skill."

Australia great Smith was a part of the losing side in the 2003 World Cup final and the ex-flanker - who made 111 appearances for the Wallabies - is also going to help out his old coach.

Jones added: "I've known since he was 19-years-old, we first signed him out of club rugby at the Brumbies so I've had a long relationship with him, he's going to come and give us a hand with breakdown skills."

Jones also expressed his disappointment for winger Chris Ashton, who was banned for 10-weeks on Wednesday for making contact with Ulster's Luke Marshall in a European Champions Cup encounter.

The Saracens winger had been largely overlooked by Lancaster, but was handed an international recall by Jones.

However, his ban - which Ashton can appeal - would see him miss the Six Nations.

"It's disappointing for Chris," Jones said. "Obviously we've got to wait and see if he appeals, and then if he appeals, what happens to the appeal.

"We'll take it from there and then we'll worry about a replacement."