He retires a hero, written down in the folklore of English rugby. The only man to score in two World Cup finals. And who will ever forget that drop goal to win the cup in Australia. Jonny Wilkinson is undoubtedly a hero of English rugby. No matter what you think of him, Wilkinson broke the mould for the number 10 and was the first of the modern number 10’s, a new breed of fly half that can tackle, pass and run with the ball as well as the traditional kicking.
But let’s not forget that he was something of a dead eye when it came to kicking. Second only to New Zealand’s Dan Carter in the International Rugby points list, Jonny very rarely missed. He owes this accuracy to hours on the training field, honing his skill until he achieved somewhere near perfection.
International Debut
Back in 1998, an 18 year old Wilkinson was given his international debut against Ireland, and nobody could have predicted that the confident youngster would go on to be England’s record points scorer and collect 91 caps as well as 6 for the British and Irish Lions. This debut cap was handed to him just a year after his debut for club team Newcastle, for whom he won the Powergen Cup twice in a 12 year stint. Jonny was also an integral part of the team when they won the 1997-1998 league title, his debut season.

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England Heroics

13 years later, in December 2011 Wilkinson hung up his international boots for the last time, announcing his retirement from the England team, retiring as a 6 Nations winner. That was just another medal to add to his international tally, including one for winning the coveted William Webb Ellis trophy – the World Cup. His exploits in that match alone have put his name down in history, something he was unable to repeat 4 years later as the team lost out to South Africa.

England owe a debt of gratitude to Wilkinson who served as their talisman for so long, the team winning 67 of the 91 games he played in. His career finished with 4 Six Nations titles and one World Cup to his name.

Move to France

After playing 12 years for his only English club, Jonny Wilkinson was rewarded with a lucrative move to French big spenders Toulon in 2009. His retirement from international rugby served to prolong, and even enhance, the club career of a modern day legend. In his 5 years at Toulon he managed to amass just shy of 200 points less than during his 12 years at Newcastle, a small measure of the stature of man akin to a fine wine, getting better with age.

Jonny Wilkinson signed off his rugby career in style. He not only helped Toulon win the Heineken Cup in the 2012-2013 season, he also captained them to back-to-back victories with success in Cardiff’s Millennium Stadium in the 2013-2014 season in his penultimate game. His final game would see him don the famous boots for the last time, this time in the French Top 14 Final. A game he would go on to win with another immaculate kicking performance. Wilkinson retired with 2 Heineken Cups and one league title.

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Jonny, the gentleman, the hero, the legend, signed off in a style befitting his calibre, with victory to the very end.

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