After announcing his plan to retire at the end of the season, we thought it would be fitting to pick out some of our favourite moments of Jonny Wilkinson’s fantastic career.
In his time in England with the Newcastle Falcons he helped them to their first, and only Premiership title to date. A Heineken Cup winners medal is all that he has to show for his time with Toulon however he has the opportunity to double this and add a French Championship before his playing career comes to an end.
In total Wilkinson made 91 appearances for England and scored 1179 points. Four times a 6 Nations winner as well as helping his country to a Rugby World Cup victory in 2003, he also toured with the British & Irish Lions in 01 and 05, gaining 6 caps and scoring 67 points.
On a personal note, he was crowned IRB Player of the Year back in 2003 and in 2013 won the European Player of the Year award. Check out below which moments made our top 5.
5. England v Scotland, 3rd February 2007
The game marked Wilkinson’s return to the England side after not featuring since the World Cup final back in 2003 and many wondered how/if he would fit back in. A try, two conversions, 5 penalties, one drop goal, a standing ovation as well as the man-of-the-match award showed us all that Wilkinson had what it took to play on in international rugby.
4. Saracens v Toulon, 28th April 2013
All 24 of the French sides points that day were scored by the former England captain but it is another drop goal that will long be remembered. With sevens minutes left on the clock, a composed Wilkinson side-stepped Owen Farrell before drilling over a left-footed drop-goal. As the pair lay on the ground, Wilkinson patted the youngster on the shoulder.
3. France v England, 19th February 2000
This game marked Wilkinson’s true arrival on the international stage but for once it was not his kicking that made the headlines. One of France‘s pre-planned moves had just been executed but it was the the England fly-half that made the impact. As Emile Ntamack took the ball he was immediately hit by a trademark Wilkinson tackle.
2. England v New Zealand, 9th November 2002
Although he scored 1,179 points in an England shirt, only 30 of those were from tries. From those 6 tries, his finish against New Zealand is our favourite. On the edge of the oppositions 22 metre line, he spotted space behind the All Blacks defensive line and put in the deftest of chips. He managed to regather the ball on the bounce and dot it down by the post. A true moment of genius.
1. Australia v England, 22nd November 2003
“This is the one. He drops for World Cup glory… It’s up! It’s over! He’s done it! Jonny Wilkinson is England’s hero yet again.” Wilkinson flourished down under and finished the tournament having scored 113 points – the most by any player. He scored all 24 of England’s points in their semi-final with France and added another 15 in the final.