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On this day: Jonny Wilkinson calls time on international career

By PA
Jonny Wilkinson /Getty

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England’s World Cup-winning fly-half Jonny Wilkinson retired from international rugby on this day in 2011.

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Wilkinson will always be remembered for his drop goal which secured victory in the final seconds of the 2003 World Cup final against Australia.

Just 17 seconds from the end of extra time, his kick broke Australian hearts in Sydney and handed England their first Webb Ellis trophy.

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The Surrey-born player won 91 England caps, plus six for the British and Irish Lions, scoring 1,246 Test points. He boasts the most points accumulated by a player at World Cups with 277, playing in four editions.

He suffered a number of injuries during his post-2003 career including shoulder trouble, knee ligament damage, a lacerated kidney and a hernia, but kept bouncing back.

Writing on his personal website in 2011, the then 32-year-old, who had left Newcastle and joined Toulon in 2009, said: “I would like to take this opportunity to announce my retirement from international rugby.

“To do so fills me with great sadness, but I know I have been blessed in so many ways to have experienced what I have with the England rugby team.

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“To say I have played through four World Cups, two Lions tours, 91 international games and a ridiculous number of injuries and other setbacks gives me an incredibly special feeling of fulfilment.

“But by now I know myself well enough to know that I will never truly be satisfied!

“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.

“I certainly have no intention of letting this decision change the way that I approach my training and preparation for games. In fact, early indication shows me that I’m actually getting more intense about it.”

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Wilkinson subsequently announced his retirement from rugby in 2014.

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