Wilkinson celebrates kicking the winning points in the 2003 World Cup final. David Davies/PA Wire/Press Association Images
Kicking Machine

Tributes pour in for Wilkinson

Peers of the England fly-half have praised his professionalism after yesterday’s announcement that he is retiring from international rugby.

AFTER 14 YEARS in an England shirt, the man who will be best remembered for his winning drop-goal in the final minutes of the 2003 World Cup (see video below) has called it a day on his international career.

Here’s what those who worked alongside Jonny Wilkinson have to say about him:

Keith Wood – Former Ireland player & Lions team-mate

“I tried to get him to join Harlequins when he was 18 because he was a walking ball of talent. He was a guy you could hang your hat on and build your team around.

“I toured with him with the Lions in 2001. He got injured at one stage and the view was that he might need surgery but he ended up playing the following week.

“He was broken on the Saturday and he played the following week.

“He was never a flash number 10 because he was Mr Dependendable – and that’s my kind of player.”

Eddie O’Sullivan – Former Ireland & assistant Lions coach

“Jonny was a fantastic professional, a real gentleman and a joy to work with. He is an extraordinary guy whose work ethic is phenomenal.

“He steps away from the game being regarded as one of the great number 10s.

Clive Woodward – Former England & Lions coach

“I think we will all look back at Jonny’s career and just regard ourselves as extremely lucky, whether we were players or coaches, to be around him when he was at his very best.

“He was always just a great part of the team, he was the ultimate team player.

“He took his own game to a whole new level. He was part of a whole group of players, whole of English rugby and world rugby. I think he took rugby to a whole new level.”

Jeremy  Guscott – Ex-England & Lions team-mate and TV pundit

“I’ll always remember playing against Newcastle early on in his career. I got tackled and thought I’d been hit by two men because it was so hard. When I looked up, it was just Jonny stood there on his own.

“I thought ‘wow, what great defence this kid has got’. He was to go on and prove that time and time again. He’s definitely the best defensive number 10 the game has ever seen.”

Stuart Lancaster – Interim England coach

“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 will, of course, be remembered for that drop-goal but he is more than that, a model sportsman – down to earth and hardworking, who has never stopped trying to be the best that he can.”

YouTube credit:

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