Although England lost that fixture 12-10 it heralded a series of much-improved displays from England's backline.
And 2003 World Cup winner Wilkinson is proud of how his one-time Newcastle protégé has flourished on the international scene.
He said: "It's important that Toby continues to progress because it stands England rugby in very good stead.
"As I've grown older, I've gained a greater understanding of the things that set some people apart. Toby had those things when I first came across him during his schooldays.
"Part of it is natural ability, part of it is down to hard work. People like Toby and Mathew Tait had something special about them at a young age.
"They could take everything in their stride while showing everyone else how it's done.
"The last time I was in this position was long ago, at the start of my career. It's a big challenge, having to begin again at 31.
"I take inspiration from people like Mike Catt and Paul Grayson, older players who couldn't get a place in the England team when I was in the side but stuck at it and ended up playing in World Cup tournaments.
"It's about continuing to learn, continuing to grow. Obviously, I want to get back in the starting team. Equally, I don't want to be there if I don't merit it."