Yesterday marked the end of an era for not only England rugby, but world rugby, with the announced international retirement of Jonny Wilkinson.
Capped 91 times for England, Wilkinson has scored a record-breaking 1,179 points for England, played in 4 World Cup campaigns and reached two finals.
Wilkinson was the second-youngest English player at 18 years and 314 days when he began his international career 13 years ago, and there was no doubt from that first entrance that he was going to be a great player. His career defining moment coming in the 2003 World Cup final against Australia when he kicked the drop-goal 17 seconds from the end of extra time, taking the score to 20-17 and securing England victory.
Blighted by injury, the extraordinarily determined England fly-half has fought back against each setback and it is this dedication to the game which has been inspirational – not only to his teammates but to players around the world. Wilkinson has always been a great ambassador for the game with his diligence and determination and much can be learned from his example.
Congratulations to Richie McCaw and the All Blacks for holding off the French to win the 2011 Rugby World Cup. It’s been a competition of upsets and disappointments, and has certainly kept everyone on their toes throughout.
Despite a short career playing rugby at the tender age of 7 (I retired at the age of 9), once or twice during the tournament I’ve been a bit unsure of the rules, so two books have proved absolutely indispensable in making me sound like a knowledgeable rugby buff when discussing the games.
Everything You wanted to Know About Rugby But Were Too Afraid to Ask and the evergreen classic Know the Game: Rugby Union are ideal companions to the game. So if you’re hooked on rugby now and can’t wait for the Six Nations in February next year, why not swat up on your ‘rucks’, ‘mauls’, or ‘knock-ons’ before the games commence again.