So at the age of 32, England fly-half Jonny Wilkinson has announced his retirement from international rugby. In a statement released on his website Wilkinson said, ‘To make this announcement fills me with great sadness, but I know I have been blessed in so many ways to have experienced what I have with the England rugby team.’
Despite a career blighted by recurring injury and continual rehabilitation, Wilkinson managed to compile an incredible list of achievements, including scoring the second highest test points total of 1,246, collecting 91 caps for England, and dating Sky Sports News presenter Di Stewart (seriously, well done).
The 2003 World Cup final against Australia will, of course, define Wilkinson’s career; and the stilled images of a man who looks a little like a teddy bear with the hair waxed off scoring a drop-goal with 20 seconds left in the match to win the game, are certain to ensure that he’ll always be held in great affection.
Probably the highest compliment you could pay him at the moment is that he’s one of the few people to come out well from the 2011 World Cup debacle. It’s quite sad that his final game for England was the quarter final loss to France .
Wilkinson will continue to play for Toulon but he’ll no longer… actually, wait, he’ll probably come out of retirement at some point – they all do. Forget I said anything.
By Peter Simpson