Jonny Wilkinson retires from England duty

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Mauler
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Jonny Wilkinson retires from England duty

Post by Mauler »

England fly-half Jonny Wilkinson has retired from international rugby union.

The 32-year-old won 91 England caps, kicked the winning drop-goal in the 2003 World Cup final and played six Tests for the British and Irish Lions.

"It 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," he said.

Despite a career plagued by injury, Wilkinson is England's all-time leading scorer with 1,179 points.

The Toulon back is second on the all-time list with 1,246 Test points, placing him just behind New Zealand's Dan Carter.

Wilkinson's record for his country includes six tries, 162 conversions, 239 penalties and a record 36 drop-goals. His total of 277 points at World Cups is 50 more than any other player.

He made his England debut at the age of 18 and went on to play in four World Cups, with his defining moment coming in the final of the 2003 tournament when his drop-goal 17 seconds from the end of extra-time secured England a 20-17 win over Australia.

But the then Newcastle fly-half's career was blighted by injuries and at one stage Wilkinson played barely 15 hours' competitive rugby in 18 months as a succession of injuries took their toll.

His extraordinary determination enabled him to overcome them and he fought back to help England reach the final of the 2007 World Cup.

Rejuvenated after moving to play his club rugby with Toulon, Wilkinson made his last England appearance against France in the quarter-final of this year's tournament in October.

"To say I have played through four World Cups, two Lions tours, 91 international games and a ridiculous number of injuries and other setbacks gives me an incredibly special feeling of fulfilment," he told his official website.

"But by now I know myself well enough to know that I will never truly be satisfied. It goes without saying that I would like to wish Stuart Lancaster [interim England head coach], his coaches and the England squad every bit of success available to them.

"I would also very much like to extend those wishes to Martin Johnson, Brian Smith, Mike Ford, John Wells, Graham Rowntree and the rest of the England 2011 World Cup management team who have been fantastic, and deserve people to know that.

For me now, I will continue to focus ever harder on my goal of being the very best I can be with Toulon Rugby Club and continue to embrace and enjoy wherever that path takes me."

Lancaster, who has been appointed as England's interim head coach for the Six Nations, paid a glowing tribute to Wilkinson.

"Jonny has had a fantastic international career which has spanned four World Cups and 91 caps, and ranks as one of England's greatest ever players," he commented.

"He will, of course, be remembered for that drop-goal. But he is more than that, a model sportsman - down to earth and hard-working - who has never stopped trying to be the best that he can.

Everyone who has played with, coached and watched Jonny play should feel privileged to have had an involvement with him.

"Not only has he been a world-class player, but he has inspired thousands to play and watch the game of rugby.

"He will continue to do great things with Toulon, and I would like to go and see him in France to learn from his vast knowledge and experience of 13 years at the very top of the international game."

Former England team-mate Mark Cueto said: "You've just got to look at the likes of Matthew Tait, who I played with at Sale for three years and who grew up with Wilko at Newcastle, and the qualities they learned from him.

"He was always striving to better himself. He couldn't have done any more with the England team, winning the Grand Slam in the Six Nations and then going on to win a World Cup and for so many players it would be easy to relax after that.

"But the more he achieved, the harder he worked and that's an unbelievable attribute to have."

Lewis Moody, who played alongside Wilkinson in the World Cup-winning team and only announced his own retirement from England duty in October, said: "I'm humbled to have played alongside him.

"I'm saddened but his contribution over the years, his work ethic, professionalism and commitment, has been immense. He put everything into what he did. It was incredible to watch him train and perform.

"The fact he missed four years of international rugby but still amassed 97 caps is unimaginable. It's a real shame he's decided to retire but what he's given to the sport, and a generation, is immense."

Former England centre and BBC pundit Jeremy Guscott told BBC Sport: "He was world class, the best in his position, and when he dropped that goal to win the World Cup for England he became immortalised.

"His performances were never less than the best he could deliver, he was a very talented player and England were fortunate to have him."

http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport2/hi/rugby_u ... 151002.stm

A great player for England, may have played a season too many but a true pro.
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Amz
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Re: Jonny Wilkinson retires from England duty

Post by Amz »

Saw this on another site:
"Slightly unkind but amusing Wilko footnote. His last England game, he was pulled off at 60mins & we were losing. Replacement? Matt Banahan. Ouch".

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ronk
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Re: Jonny Wilkinson retires from England duty

Post by ronk »

Getting out early, but probably not picking a bad time. EPS commitments are a pain in France and there's that debate about Flood. England would be better off looking to the future at this point in the quadrennial and having anything to do with that squad looks like hassle at the moment.

Wilko may as well enjoy the rest of his career and make a few quid.

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TerenureJim
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Re: Jonny Wilkinson retires from England duty

Post by TerenureJim »

Fair play to him retiring on his own terms and generally without a fuss much like the way he went through his career handling press and injuries with total professionalism. Seems like a genuine nice guy and someone who always did the uptmost for his team. Note to ROG maybe instead of having a hissy fit in the press after you didn't do much in Ireland's best game of the RWC, making the issue all about you, you could have just taken a leaf out of Wilkinson's book and supported the team and kept your nose away from the tv cameras.

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Leinster Exile
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Re: Jonny Wilkinson retires from England duty

Post by Leinster Exile »

One of the good guys. A great playere circa 2003. He did us over a number of times. A true honourable sportsman

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Logorrhea
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Re: Jonny Wilkinson retires from England duty

Post by Logorrhea »

Leinster Exile wrote:One of the good guys.
Yep, sums it up nicely for me

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Darce
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Re: Jonny Wilkinson retires from England duty

Post by Darce »

Imagine how may caps he could have won in the lost years. Seriously could have been approaching 140-150 by now
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sid
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Re: Jonny Wilkinson retires from England duty

Post by sid »

:(

One of my favourite players of all time. Hope he gets some enjoyment out of his career with Toulon.
johng wrote:Classic bit of Sidness there.

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tackle-bag
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Re: Jonny Wilkinson retires from England duty

Post by tackle-bag »

A legend of the game and a genuinely decent bloke too. There are very few members of the 2003 England team about whom you could say both of those things. Hope he manages to achieve some further glory with Toulon; he has earned every moment of success that he has enjoyed.
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TerenureJim
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Re: Jonny Wilkinson retires from England duty

Post by TerenureJim »

tackle-bag wrote:A legend of the game and a genuinely decent bloke too. There are very few members of the 2003 England team about whom you could say both of those things. Hope he manages to achieve some further glory with Toulon; he has earned every moment of success that he has enjoyed.
Himself at 10 and Will Greenwood at 12 were an incredible force between 1999 and 2003. It's incredible to think how regularly we now beat England (in fact we need to be in real dire straits or pre-season for them to buy a win against us) in comparison to the phenominal force they were in the run up to that RWC win.

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tackle-bag
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Re: Jonny Wilkinson retires from England duty

Post by tackle-bag »

TerenureJim wrote:
tackle-bag wrote:A legend of the game and a genuinely decent bloke too. There are very few members of the 2003 England team about whom you could say both of those things. Hope he manages to achieve some further glory with Toulon; he has earned every moment of success that he has enjoyed.
Himself at 10 and Will Greenwood at 12 were an incredible force between 1999 and 2003. It's incredible to think how regularly we now beat England (in fact we need to be in real dire straits or pre-season for them to buy a win against us) in comparison to the phenominal force they were in the run up to that RWC win.
Ah, we were fairly rubbish during that period though. Two words:- Justin Bishop
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TerenureJim
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Re: Jonny Wilkinson retires from England duty

Post by TerenureJim »

tackle-bag wrote:Ah, we were fairly rubbish during that period though. Two words:- Justin Bishop
We posted record scores at home and away against the Scots and Welsh, beat France back to back in Paris and in Dublin (with the game before Paris being lost by a point and Humps missing a kick to win it). Were against the English at home in Lansdowne Rd for a grand slam winner takes all game in 2003 (aka Martin Johnson & The Magic Carpet). We also did manage to post a fairly huge dent in English assendancy at that time with the win in the 2001 in the foot & mouth Six Nations (again another year of almost grnad slam, lost due to a poor performance against the Scots on a very sunny day in September).

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Vamos los azules
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Re: Jonny Wilkinson retires from England duty

Post by Vamos los azules »

A true gent - you could never question his professionalism and he earned a huge amount of respect both for how he dealt with all the injuries and his loyalty to Newcastle for so long.
The fact that the English media went after him after the world cup win in 2003 and eventually gave up because they couldn't get anything on him says a huge amount about him as a person. The current England squad could do with a few more like him.
"You can’t defend like the boss one week and the cookie man the next".

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