Jonny to finish career at Toulon

2011-12-24 15:33
Jonny Wilkinson (File)

Toulon -Two weeks after calling time on his 91-cap England career, flyhalf Jonny Wilkinson said on Friday that he will end his club career at French Top 14 side Toulon.

"The aim is to finish my career at Toulon, continue to improve and do the best I can do until the moment comes when it is no longer possible," said the 32-year-old, who recently signed a new deal at the French side until 2013.

"I see myself as someone who can be trusted. I spent 13 years at Newcastle because I like to think long-term. Here at Toulon I have the same goal.

"I feel really at ease here and I get a lot of pleasure from the contact I have with the team, the coaches, the fans and the region. I cannot imagine playing for any other team."

Wilkinson, a World Cup winner in 2003, kicked 15 points in Toulon's 20-15 win over Lyon on Friday which kept his team in third place in the table.

Such is his hold on the position that former French outside-half Frederic Michalak, who has reached a verbal agreement to play for Toulon next season, has already been told that he will have to slot into the scrumhalf position.

Wilkinson brought the curtain down on his internatioanl career on December 12 after 13 seasons playing for England.

"When I was young, I never envisaged the end of my career but, despite that, the moment is coming," said Wilkinson.

"It's necessary to stand back and think about things. After the World Cup in New Zealand, I told myself that there are younger players than me coming along and that they must have the opportunity to show what they can do at international level.

"England also needs to build a team for the next World Cup."

After losing to France in the World Cup quarter-finals, it was looking increasingly likely that Wilkinson would not feature in the Six Nations which gets underway in February.

"The years I spent with England were the best of my life," said Wilkinson.

"It was a magnificent experience, an honour and a privilege. To play for my country, with the team, the different coaches and the support I received, it was a real pleasure."

Wilkinson played 91 times for England between 1998 and 2011, scoring 1 179 points.

Considered one of the greatest flyhalves of all time, he is the second highest-scoring player in international history.

Including appearances for the British and Irish Lions, Wilkinson scored 1 246 points from a total of 97 international matches.


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