If you’re English this guy is just about as big a legend as you’ll get. Jonny Wilkinson set the standards in the Northern Hemisphere for fly halves going forward. He put his body on the line throughout his career and will be forever remembered for that drop goal in 2003 to win the World Cup for England in extra time.
Jonathan Peter Wilkinson, born in 1979, started his career with the Newcastle Falcons, before later moving to Toulon. He also represented England and British and Irish Lions.
He played for Newcastle across 12 seasons before moving to Toulon in 2009.
At club level he won the Premiership with Newcastle Falcons, then after moving to Toulon 2009, he added 2 Heineken Cups and a Top 14 winners medals.
He made 323 appearances at club level across 17 years, amassing 3933 points scored.
At the International level, he earned 97 caps, 91 for England and another 6 for the Lions.
He would retire from rugby at the end of the 2013-2014 season, he was then inducted into the World Rugby Hall of Fame.
Despite ending with 91 caps the England career of this rugby legend were hugely cut short. From the highs of winning the World Cup, he would not win another cap for 1,169 days when taking to the field in the red rose during the Six Nations in 2007.
Wilko is famous for his hits, where the 10 channel is normally a weakness Jonny would take names on a regular basis, ultimately this would start to become his downfall as the injuries built up from his all or nothing attitude.
In 1998 Wilko made his debut in a Five Nations match against Ireland, coming on to replace Mike Catt on the 4th April. Over his career he would go on to score the most conversions in the tournament, on his way to winning the Six Nations championship a total of 4 times.
From 1998 to 2011 he won 91 caps for England, scoring 1179 points in total which includes 6 tries.
His standout moment, of course, can only be that World Cup Final drop goal. In the last minute of extra time with England and Australia locked at 17 points, the team worked the ball into the 22 for Jonny to slot the winning points to win the World Cup.
He bowed out of the International scene in 2011 as England fell to France in the quarter-finals of the Rugby World Cup. It was a World Cup to forget with controversy caused by off-field antics of the squad reported in the newspapers.
Jonny Wilkinson transformed the club, leading a star-studded team of International players from around the world.
This was ultimately Jonny’s last club and when he retired in 2014 he did so after winning a double with European honours and then Top 14 a week later for Toulon. After his last game the French crowd sang “God Save the Queen” in a tribute to the fly half.
Carter v Wilkinson
For much of Jonny’s career, his rival for the title of best fly-half was always debated between him and Dan Carter. People will always have a favourite, but on their day both would dominate a game with management and skill.
In terms of attacking flair, you could easily argue that Carter was on top, but Wilkinson’s defence was probably above any other 10 in the game.
Jonny Wilkinson is currently working with England Rugby, working primarily with the fly halves in the team which is predominantly George Ford and Owen Farrell.
Alongside this Jonny also works for ITV during tournaments, being a part of the studio team with the likes of Clive Woodward.
Life Outside Rugby
Jonny married long term girlfriend Shelley Jenkins in 2013 in the South of France.
In May 2018 it was reported that they were expecting their first baby later that year.
Jonny is also involved in a health drink business and clothing business.