The Canadian Press - ONLINE EDITION

Former England flyhalf Jonny Wilkinson to retire from rugby at the end of the season

  • Print

England great Jonny Wilkinson will retire from rugby at the end of the season, capping an illustrious 17-year career in which he kicked the winning drop-goal in the 2003 World Cup final to become one of his country's most treasured sportsmen.

The 34-year-old flyhalf made the widely anticipated announcement in a brief statement on the website of his French club Toulon on Monday, five days before its defence of the Heineken Cup title against Saracens in Cardiff.

Wilkinson's last match will be the Top 14 final against Castres on May 31.

"This ... is not at all the time to be concentrating on this as I would like to focus all my attention and energy on the team and these final two games of the season," a typically modest Wilkinson said. "I sincerely thank you all for everything you have given me and for making these last 17 years something I will never forget."

Wilkinson is widely regarded as England's greatest flyhalf and was arguably the world's top No. 10 from 1999-2003, when England won its first World Cup thanks to his match-clinching drop goal late in extra time in the final against Australia.

Known by most as "Wilko," he scored 1,246 test points — a total that is second only to New Zealand No. 10 Dan Carter — in 91 tests with England and six with the British and Irish Lions.

A brilliant place-kicker and fiercely committed defender with a powerful tackle for a player in his position, Wilkinson's post-2003 World Cup career was blighted by a series of injuries that left his body a wreck and would have seen off many players.

He never lost his desire and commitment, though, and made comeback after comeback before rediscovering his fitness and best form by leaving Newcastle Falcons to move to the warmer climate in the south of France in 2009.

Playing for big-spending Toulon with a slew of other world-class players gave him a fresh start and took him to the pinnacle of the European game in the twilight of his career. Last year, he was voted European Player of the Year after playing a starring role in Toulon's first European Cup success, sealed by a win over Clermont Auvergne in the final.

"Jonny has had an unbelievable career," current England flyhalf Owen Farrell said in an interview with Britain's Daily Telegraph, "and you don't know if there is one better."

Wilkinson helped guide England to the 2007 World Cup final, where the team lost to South Africa, and also played in the tournaments in 1999 and 2011.

Fact Check

Fact Check

Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories?
Please use the form below and let us know.

* Required
  • Please post the headline of the story or the title of the video with the error.

  • Please post exactly what was wrong with the story.

  • Please indicate your source for the correct information.

  • Yes

    No

  • This will only be used to contact you if we have a question about your submission, it will not be used to identify you or be published.

  • Cancel

Having problems with the form?

Contact Us Directly
  • Print

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective April 16, 2010.

letters

Make text: Larger | Smaller

LATEST VIDEO

Winnipeg Cheapskate: Cheap summer weekends

View more like this

Photo Store Gallery

  • KEN GIGLIOTTI  WINNIPEG FREE PRESS / July 23 2009 - 090723 - Bart Kives story - Harry Lazarenko Annual River Bank Tour - receding water from summer rains and erosion  damage by flood  and ice  during spring flooding -  Red River , Lyndale Dr. damage to tree roots , river bank damage  , high water marks after 2009 Flood - POY
  • A young goose gobbles up grass at Fort Whyte Alive Monday morning- Young goslings are starting to show the markings of a adult geese-See Bryksa 30 day goose challenge- Day 20– June 11, 2012   (JOE BRYKSA / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS)

View More Gallery Photos

Poll

How surpised are you by the Bombers’ 4-1 start to the season?

View Results

Ads by Google