Jonny Wilkinson delays retirement after signing new contract with Toulon

Former England fly-half extends career by at least another season

Click to follow
The Independent Online

Former England fly-half Jonny Wilkinson has signed a new one-year contract with French club Toulon, it was announced today.

The World Cup winner had been deliberating over whether to bow out at the end of this season when his current contract at Toulon was due to run out. However, after seeking the council of team-mates Frederic Michalak and Matt Giteau the 33-year-old playmaker has decided to sign on for another year.

Wilkinson has had an impressive season so far, having scored all 21 points in a tight Heineken Cup quarter-final with Leicester Tigers, leading the side from the south of France to victory and a semi-final date with Saracens and young England fly-half Owen Farrell at his old stomping ground, Twickenham. That match will be on Sunday, April 28.

Toulon also lead the French Top 14, with Wilkinson the top points scorer in that competition. His form has been such that the club owner, comic book mogul Mourad Boudjellal, said in February: "I'd sign him for four years if he wanted to.”

The French club announced the signing on its website this afternoon.

He is the second-highest point-scorer in Test history and the veteran’s form is such that he has also been linked with a call up to this summer’s British and Irish Lions squad, with whom he toured Australia 12 years ago at the age of 21. The squad is to be announced on April 30.

He is philosophical on his chances, however, saying after Toulon’s triumph against Leicester: “As far as I’m concerned, I’m like the guy in the armchair, wishing I could be on the Lions tour. But there’s no need for me to be there with these [younger] guys around."

Wilkinson retired from the England side in September 2011.