Heineken Cup: Jonny Wilkinson talks up Toulon to his possible successors

 

Jonny Wilkinson may be famous for fulminating about the solitary moments in a sportsman’s life, but the feted fly-half’s latest reflections on whether he will retire next summer – after Saturday’s  32-20 Heineken Cup win for his club Toulon over Exeter Chiefs – were made with others in mind.

Toulon are in talks with Wales full-back Leigh Halfpenny about a transfer, and are reckoned to be keen on Leicester’s England fly-half Toby Flood, too. Wilkinson, 34, recommended both men sample this quixotic, star-studded, Cote d’Azur club. He also offered some advice.

Halfpenny appears very close to signing and Toulon’s owner-chairman, Mourad Boudjellal, has promised to sign a fly-half for next season. The provenance of that man is key. Flood may be in line for a large salary hike while endangering his prospects of playing for England at the next World Cup, but it could depend on Wilkinson quitting a 17-year club career because Toulon will be limited by French league rules to 16 players classed as foreigners.

 “I have been speaking to Toby, [though] not about anything like that,” said Wilkinson of his friend and former Newcastle club-mate.

“[With Toulon] you bring everything with you that you have got. You don’t come here to sponge off Toulon or sponge off the area or the climate. You bring yourself and if in doing so you add something then you get it all back.

“Someone like Leigh Halfpenny coming here is amazing but only if we see what is great about him. That is the beauty of the challenge for me. When I see other guys playing brilliantly it makes it all worthwhile.”

Wilkinson came on as a last-quarter substitute to steer Toulon, the Cup holders, to the top of Pool Two, scoring his first Heineken Cup try in 25 matches over 12 years in the process.

BUY RUGBY WORLD CUP TICKETS

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Turkey's conflict with Kurdish guerrillas in Iraq can benefit Isis in Syria

Turkey's conflict with Kurdish guerrillas in Iraq can benefit Isis in Syria

Turkish President Erdogan could benefit politically from the targeting of the PKK, says Patrick Cockburn
Yvette Cooper: Our choice is years of Tory rule under Jeremy Corbyn or a return to a Labour government

Our choice is years of Tory rule under Corbyn or a return to a Labour government

Yvette Cooper urged Labour members to 'get serious' about the next general election rather than become 'a protest movement'
Singapore's domestic workers routinely exploited and often abused in the service of rich nationals

Singapore's hidden secret of domestic worker abuse

David Cameron was shown the country's shiniest veneer on his tour. What he didn't see was the army of foreign women who are routinely exploited and often abused in the service of rich nationals
Showdown by Shirley Jackson: A previously unpublished short story from the queen of American Gothic

Showdown, by Shirley Jackson

A previously unpublished short story from the queen of American Gothic
10 best DSLRs

Be sharp! 10 best DSLRs

Up your photography game with a versatile, powerful machine
Solved after 200 years: the mysterious deaths of 3,000 soldiers from Napoleon's army

Solved after 200 years

The mysterious deaths of 3,000 soldiers from Napoleon's army
Every regional power has betrayed the Kurds so Turkish bombing is no surprise

Robert Fisk on the Turkey conflict

Every regional power has betrayed the Kurds so Turkish bombing is no surprise
Investigation into wreck of unidentified submarine found off the coast of Sweden

Sunken sub

Investigation underway into wreck of an unidentified submarine found off the coast of Sweden
Instagram and Facebook have 'totally changed' the way people buy clothes

Age of the selfie

Instagram and Facebook have 'totally changed' the way people buy clothes
Not so square: How BBC's Bloomsbury saga is sexing up the period drama

Not so square

How Virginia Woolf saga is sexing up the BBC period drama
Rio Olympics 2016: The seven teenagers still carrying a torch for our Games hopes

Still carrying the torch

The seven teenagers given our Olympic hopes
The West likes to think that 'civilisation' will defeat Isis, but history suggests otherwise

The West likes to think that 'civilisation' will defeat Isis...

...but history suggests otherwise
The bald truth: How one author's thinning hair made him a Wayne Rooney sympathiser

The bald truth

How thinning hair made me a Wayne Rooney sympathiser
Froome wins second Tour de France after triumphant ride into Paris with Team Sky

Tour de France 2015

Froome rides into Paris to win historic second Tour
Fifteen years ago, Concorde crashed, and a dream died. Today, the desire to travel faster than the speed of sound is growing once again

A new beginning for supersonic flight?

Concorde's successors are in the works 15 years on from the Paris crash