Neil Jenkins has acclaimed the "incredible" achievements of Jonny Wilkinson as he prepares to hand over his world Test points record.
Wilkinson will overtake Jenkins’ mark of 1090 for Wales and the Lions once he lands his first successful kick against RBS 6 Nations opponents Scotland at Murrayfield on Saturday.
Jenkins took the best part of 20 Tests more than Wilkinson to compile his tally, with England’s fly-half star moving level after booting 14 points in the victory over France a fortnight ago.
There has been a debate between statisticians over whether or not Wilkinson’s 20-point haul for the Lions against Argentina in 2005 should count, but the International Rugby Board has now ratified those points as part of his official total.
Jenkins, Wales’ kicking coach, will be in Dublin tomorrow on the scent of a Six Nations Triple Crown when Wilkinson inevitably removes him from the record books.
But he has unstinting admiration for a player whose goalkicking exploits are legendary.
Jenkins said: “The guy is outstanding. I have always felt it would be Jonny who would break it, and if he hadn’t had his injuries he would have done it years ago.
“I was lucky enough to be involved with him on the 2001 Lions tour to Australia, and his work ethic is huge.
“He is incredibly professional in everything he does, and to come back from the setbacks he’s had in the way he has shows the character of the man.
“He fully deserves to break my record. I have got no issues with that whatsoever.
“Jonny’s record speaks for itself. The amount of points he has scored in 68 Tests for England is incredible.
“Yes, he has played in some good sides, but you have still got to score the points and play as well as you can to stay in the team.
“Jonny is more than deserving of the record. He is one of the best about.”
There is a neat symmetry about Wilkinson’s career in terms of reaching milestones against Scotland.
He made his first Five Nations start in the Calcutta Cup nine years ago, then returned from an injury-enforced three-year England absence when Scotland featured at Twickenham last season.
Now, the world international points record is set to fall when Scotland are England’s opponents.
Jenkins added: “Jonny was excellent when he came back last year from his injuries - he really led England well at the World Cup.
“He is a top-class player who scores points for fun, but he knows the game as well.
“He knows when to kick and when to pass, to do the right things at the right time - he’s really key for England.
“He has had a lot of injuries throughout his career, and mentally, he must be as tough as anyone.
“What he has come back from, most people would probably have said ‘I’ve had enough of this, I can’t do this any more’.
“But no chance with Jonny. He dug in and kept going, and his desire to get back and be the best must be huge.
“To be fair to him, he’s done exceptionally well.”