WHILE IT HAD been known that this was extremely likely to be the final season of Jonny Wilkinson’s playing career, the English out-half has decided to officially confirm the news himself.
The 34-year-old has released a brief statement via Toulon’s website thanking those who have helped him to enjoy such a magnificent career. Typically, the 2003 World Cup winner indicated that he will be preparing for upcoming challenges with 100% focus.
“I would like to take this opportunity to formally announce my retirement from playing rugby,” says Wilkinson. “It goes without saying that I have an enormous number of people to thank for their support from all around the world but especially here in France and in England.
This however 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. I sincerely thank you all for everything you have given me and for making these last seventeen years something I will never forget”.
Wilkinson will hope to bow out with an historic double, as Toulon prepare for both the Heineken Cup and Top 14 finals. The former Newcastle out-half won 91 caps for England during his international career, as well as touring twice with the Lions.
The feeling is that Wilkinson will eventually make a fine coach after hanging up his boots, although he indicated that he would take time to learn the necessary skills before jumping into any positions in a fascinating interview with Sky Sports last year.
It would be no surprise to see the Englishman ending his playing days with decisive performances in both upcoming finals. A true legend of the game, Wilkinson will be missed on the pitch thereafter.