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Dublin: 13°C Tuesday 22 September 2020

Wilkinson announces his retirement from Test rugby

Veteran fly-half Jonny Wilkinson has announced his immediate retirement from international rugby.

Image: Alastair Grant/AP/Press Association Images

SINCE MAKING HIS international debut in 1998, Jonny Wilkinson has accumulated an array of awards and plaudits, including 97 international caps (91 for England, 6 for the British and Irish Lions) and a Rugby World Cup winner’s medal.

Now, at the age of 32, the veteran stand-off has declared his intention to retire from international rugby. A statement on the player’s website confirmed the decision:

“I would like to take this opportunity to announce my retirement from International rugby…

“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.”

Speaking to the Guardian in the wake of the decision, Stuart Lancaster, head of England’s interim coaching staff, hailed Wilkinson as a “model sportsman” with “vast knowledge and experience” of the game.

“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.”

Wilkinson, now in his third season with French side Toulon, entered last summer’s World Cup in New Zealand as England’s first-choice fly-half, but endured a difficult campaign, eventually guiding the Six Nations champions to a quarter-final defeat against France.

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