Stephen Jones believes Jonny Wilkinson's move to France has re-ignited his career.
Wales fly-half Jones will go head-to-head with Toulon star Wilkinson in the Six Nations opener at Twickenham tomorrow (Sat).
And Jones, who spent two years at Clermont Auvergne between 2004-06, reckons the England number ten is back to his best. Jones, 32, said: "Jonny seems to be enjoying his life at Toulon. I know playing in France is great because I loved my time there.
"It's a different challenge physically and he will have learnt about playing in a different climate, culture, language and environment. But Jonny is playing really well again and still a top defender."
The British Lions duo have been shining lights in the northern hemisphere and stuck the boot into their rivals over the past decade. Between Jones and Wilkinson, 30, the pair have scored almost 1,800 points at Test level but have rarely gone into battle against each other in direct competition.
Jones added: "I've been on the same field as Jonny in other positions but I've only ever played at fly-half against him once and that was way back in 2003 at the World Cup. He's a great player and we are friends. I speak to him now and again but I've a huge amount of respect for him especially for what he has achieved in the game.
"It will be a tough and physical game. We will not underestimate them."
Ebbw Vale captain Damien Hudd picked up the biggest accolade of the night at the 11th Principality Premiership Awards Evening held at Principality Stadium, after leading his side to the title for the first time.
Wales assistant coach Robin McBryde is predicting a tough battle against England on Sunday despite the fact they may not be considered to be at full strength. Players will be out to impress Eddie Jones which makes England a dangerous proposition, he says.
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Alongside Scarlets flanker James Davies and Cardiff Blues centre Cory Allen, three Wales Sevens core players have made the extended training squad for GB Sevens. Wales Head coach Gareth Williams tells WRU TV's Graeme Gillespie why Luke Treharne, Sam Cross and Luke Morgan earned selection in the initial training squad for Rio.
Wales Sevens head coach Gareth Williams tells WRU TV's Graeme Gillespie he has had to overcome a number of injuries before naming a competitive squad for this weekend's penultimate round of the World Series in Paris.
Merthyr were officially crowned champions of the SSE SWALEC Championship at Dowlais on Saturday where captain Andy Powell paid tribute to his side who have earned promotion to the Principality Premiership