Jonny Wilkinson retires from international rugby

Jonny Wilkinson has retired from international rugby at the age of 32. Best known for kicking the winning drop goal in the 2003 Rugby World Cup final, Wilkinson will be remembered as one of the highest point scorers in the game. He finishes his international career with 1246 points, including 67 for the British & Irish Lions, scoring 255 penalties, 169 conversion, 7 tries and 36 drop goals, the last of which is a world record.

“I would like to take this opportunity to announce my retirement from international rugby. To do so fills me with great sadness but I know that I have been blessed in so many ways to have experienced what I have with the England rugby team. I never ever believed that I would be able to give up on this dream which has driven me to live, breathe, love and embrace the game of rugby from the earliest days that I can remember.

“I certainly have no intention of letting this decision change the way that I approach my training and preparation for games. In fact early indication shows me that I’m actually getting more intense about it. Playing the game, representing the team, giving my all and never letting go has meant everything to me. The time has come, however, for me to realise that I have gone as far as I can go with this England team and that the time is right for others to enjoy the same honour and pride that I have felt over the past 15 seasons and beyond.

“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. 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, 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.”

15 thoughts on “Jonny Wilkinson retires from international rugby

  1. Been trying to write this comment for ages! Forget one of England’s greatest rugby players, one of England’s greatest ambassadors. A real legend and someone who I hope will be involved with the national team in some capacity in the future. Thanks for giving me one of the greatest moments of my life on a rainy November eight years ago.

  2. A brilliant player and a class apart from most. It looks doubtful at this stage but i hope he has a couple more fantastic, injury-free seasons for Toulon and gets selected for Lions 2013. That would be a more fitting end to his international career than the England debacle over the past few years.

    1. Great player
      “Hi I’m Jonny Wilkinson. You may remember me from such books as ‘Jonny My Autobiography’, ‘Tackling Life’, and My World'” Really, I had no idea, he was that much into writing. Never read any of them.
      As for greatest ever 10 – impossible to say (unless your English of course).
      He’s a better tackler than most 10’s but not a good try scorer really. Excellent passer, and read er of the game. Great tactician.

      1. Balon

        what ever is said about Jonny, when he was under the most intense pressure , no second chance, no room for error, no next game to put it right etc, he delivered.

        Only when a player is put under that pressure (donald for the ABs in the RWC) can you judge them as “greatest”.

        1. He’s certainly on the shortlist, let’s agree to that. Carter may go on to better him, but who can say. Best 10. of all time is a topic for another day, and it can’t be defined really.

          1. Have to say that (for once) I agree with balon. He did have faults and may have not been the complete fly half (but who is?) but boy did he make the most of what he had and the moment that he lined up for that drop goal he made an entire nation go delerious – “and Wilkinson drops for World Cup Glory…” which bizarrely can only be read in a Scots accent! A true professional in every sense.

  3. I remember standing in the bar of Glamorgan University, the English at one end, the Welsh at the other, watching the World Cup Final in 2003. That moment when Jonny kicked those last three point will be something that I will never forget.

    His career should not just be remembered for that though, he was an awesome tackler, a master at penalties and tricky conversions for so long and was and still is, I am sure, deeply committed to the England team and their effort.

    Perhaps when his playing career over he might try his hand at coaching the new blood on kicking. I certainly hope he considers it.

    Good luck Jonny and thank you.

  4. I was never happy to see him in an English shirt when England pitched up at the Millenium stadium which is probably the biggest compliment a Welshman can give ! A modern style outside half rather than a flair player he set the standard role model for todays young professional rugby player . Hope he goes on to something worthwhile in rugby when he eventually stops playing altogether and also that he relaxes a bit .

  5. A man worthy of the accolade of ‘Great’. The years of his career were some of England’s best. Thanks Jonny, enjoy what years are left as a player.

  6. Would have been nice if we could have had a game against Aus when they were over to try and banish the demons of the world cup and let the older players (Jonny especially) bow out with respect that the majority of their careers deserved. Can’t help comparing Jonny’s exit to Shane’s and the difference for the players if huge!

  7. Ben I don’t think Jonny would have had it any other way. Even if England had just won the World Cup I think a quiet unassuming press release would be the way he’d go about it.

    Absolute legend, for 3 years or so he was absolutely peerless, he would have been the first name on the sheet for almost any team in the world. Perhaps not as rounded as Carter and I for one regret that he never quite developed into the calm, mentoring head that we hoped at international level, his Catt or Greenwood to Flood’s young Wilko. But that’s a small gripe. He tackled like no 10 before or since and now 10s can’t get away with not tackling (see Cipriani), elevated the level of goalkicking and had a work ethic that bordered on the massochistic. In those ways he pioneered major changes in rugby which have considerable influence today. Can’t see him as a head coach in future but as a kicking coach with a broader brief to mentor young players in their work ethic, conditioning etc. and helping them as people (badly needed in the English game).

    Thanks for everything Jonny, a complete one off.

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