Rugby: Retirement on the cards for Wilkinson

Jonny Wilkinson. Photo / Janna Dixon
Jonny Wilkinson. Photo / Janna Dixon

Former England first five-eighth Jonny Wilkinson will decide on his career future in February, saying he will continue playing only if he feels it will benefit his club.

The 33-year-old retired from international rugby after last year's World Cup having won 91 caps for England and the British and Irish Lions. He has helped Toulon to first place in France's Top 14 this season. His contract expires at the end of the season.

"I'm capable of carrying on, but it's a delicate balance,'' Wilkinson said in an interview on Wednesday with sports daily L'Equipe. "The question isn't what I would like to do, but what is best for my team. After I've asked myself that question, then I'll think about myself.''

Wilkinson is confident Toulon can win the Heineken Cup this season.

"Can we do the double? I say, yes,'' Wilkinson said. "I'm never satisfied, but I'm happy with how we've played. We're heading in the right direction.''

Wilkinson thinks star-studded Toulon, which is packed with proven test players such as flyhalf Frederic Michalak, 91-test veteran Matt Giteau of Australia and former South Africa lock Bakkies Botha, is one of the best he's played in.

"Everyone knows their role,'' Wilkinson said. "The most important thing is the rapport between the players, and that's where we're lucky.''

Should Wilkinson decide to retire at the end of the season, his swansong could be the Lions tour to Australia in June, if he's selected.

- AFP

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