Jonny Wilkinson kicks on (albeit with a few misses) after international retirement
Watch video highlights from Jonny Wilkinson's first match since announcing his retirement from international rugby courtesy of ESPN, which broadcasts Top 14 French Rugby. Martin Gillingham, ESPN's Top 14 commentator, also gives his view on Wilkinson's performance for Toulon last night.
Wednesday 14 December 2011
The script for Monday night’s Top 14 clash against Agen dictated that a little more than 24 hours after embarking on his “nouvelle vie sans le XV de la Rose” Jonny Wilkinson would evoke memories of 2003 and land the drop goal late in the game to secure the points for Toulon.
Alas, England’s World Cup winner doesn’t do scripts – at least not other people’s – and on a night when he missed more shots off the kicking tee than he landed he actually departed the fray with almost 20 minutes to go.
Not that it was a poor night for Wilkinson - even when judged by the strict standards of perfection he demands of himself. It is just that the master’s normally flawless left peg had a night off.
In almost all other aspects of his game, Wilkinson was at his vintage best. Indeed, for those who haven’t seen much of him in action for his French employers Wilkinson demonstrated a level of skill recent England displays may have suggested had left him.
Two of the three tries Toulon scored before Wilkinson was replaced came courtesy of the 32-year-old’s final pass. The first, barely three minutes into the game, was long and looping and sent the Fijian Gabi Lovobalavu over in the corner while, the second, timed and delivered in such a way as to create the space for Leonardo Senatore to smash over, set up the bonus point score. A third pass - an audacious, reverse, spiralling number with a degree of difficulty right up there with anything Tom Daley can muster – went to hand and started off another flowing move that only just fell short of the try line.
On this evidence, the passing of Wilkinson’s international career will not only be mourned but missed.
Lionel Messi vs Cristiano Ronaldo: Compare the Barcelona and Real Madrid players in El Clasico
Paul Scholes column: I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Phil Jones and Marcos Rojo
Tim Sherwood: The mavericks have always needed special handling – but Balotelli is not delivering his side of the bargain for Liverpool
Manchester United vs Chelsea: Modesty of Louis van Gaal makes nice contrast with his old pupil Jose Mourinho
Real Madrid analysis: Toni Kroos control may give extra edge that enables Real Madrid to retain Champions League crown
- 1 Revolutionary lost Caravaggio painting 'Mary Magdalen in Ecstasy' identified
- 2 McKamey Manor: This 'extreme' haunted house is the stuff of nightmares
- 3 Russell Brand says he will 'probably' give up acting to focus on his revolution
- 4 Watch what happened when food critics were unknowingly served McDonald's
- 5 David Beckham's Haig Club whisky is exactly what’s wrong with the Highlands
Of course, teenage girls need role models – but not like beauty vlogger Zoella
Cameron is warned 'no possibility' of UK reducing immigration and that bid to bring in quota on migrant workers would be illegal
Support for EU membership 'at highest level since 1991' with most Brits wanting to stay 'in'
Thousands with degenerative conditions classified as 'fit to work in future' – despite no possibility of improvement
Attacks on 'Ukip Calypso' show how skewed people’s priorities are
Putin accuses US of causing global instability